Is a pickle a fruit or a vegetable?

Pickles are one of the most popular foods grown and sold around the world. You are probably familiar with their crispy texture and mild refreshing taste. However, the question may arise as to which food group the pickles belong to.

But, is a pickle a fruit or a vegetable? This article makes it straightforward so read it till the end.

What is a cucumber?

People formally knew them under their scientific name, Common cucumber (Latin Cucumis sativus ). They are part of the Pumpkin plant family (Latin Cucurbitaceae ). They originated in various parts of Southeast Asia but are now grown all over the world.

Size and color can vary significantly from cultivar, but cucumbers are best known for their long, cylindrical shape and bright green skin. The most popular types fall into two groups- fresh cucumbers and pickled cucumbers. Pickled cucumbers can usually be eaten whole or also added to various salads.

A bit of history?

Perhaps the question is buried in history? And since then, it has been established for sure which botanical group does the cucumber belongs to? After all, it appeared more than six thousand years ago.

The homeland of culture is the tropics of India and the forests at the foot of the Himalayan mountains. Cucumber was highly valued in Turkey in the 15th century, calling it an “unripe vegetable.”

A useful choice

Cucumbers are not a good source of vitamins and minerals, as they are mostly water. However, a 50-gram serving provides approximately 11% of the RDA for vitamin K. It is a nutrient that plays a vital role in blood clotting and bone health.

They’re also rich in unique plant compounds like cucurbitacins, which have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cucumbers are low in calories, carbs, and fat. It makes them a viable option for almost any diet. Not to mention, they give a variety of dishes a delightful and refreshing taste.

Botanical analysis

While many people think that cucumbers are vegetables, scientific definition shows that they are fruit. This distinction is based primarily on the biological function of the cucumber itself. In botany (the study of plants), fruits allow a flowering plant to multiply. The fruit is formed from an ovary inside the flower and contains seeds that will eventually grow into new plants.

Conversely, “vegetable” is a term reserved for other plant parts, such as leaves, stems, or roots. Cucumbers grow from flowers and contain dozens of seeds that can be used to develop future generations of cucumber plants. This primary function is what makes them fruits – not vegetables – according to science.

Scientifically speaking, cucumbers are fruits because they grow from the flowers of the plant and contain seeds.

Pickles in the culinary sense

Much of the confusion surrounding the classification of different fruits and vegetables come from culinary uses. The culinary definition of a fruit or vegetable is usually based on the flavor profile, texture, and best uses in a particular dish.

Fruits tend to be very sweet, tart, or spicy, and they tend to have a softer, more delicate texture. People put them in desserts, baked goods, syrups, sauces, and smoothies that require flavors and textures.

On the other hand, vegetables tend to be harsher in texture and have more bitter elements in their flavor profile. They are generally best suited for salty foods such as appetizers, soups, and salads.

In terms of flavor, cucumbers fall somewhere in between, although they are much more commonly used as a vegetable. The crispy texture, subtle inner flesh, and slightly bitter rind go well with various savory recipes.

Cucumbers can sometimes be used as a fruit when paired with other, sweeter fruits such as berries or melon. Otherwise, they are best used as a vegetable. Culinary practice distinguishes fruits from vegetables in taste and texture. The everyday use of cucumber is in salty dishes, which has earned it a reputation for being a vegetable.

Creative use

Whether cucumbers are fruits or vegetables should not significantly affect how they eat them for the average person. It is important to remember that cucumbers are versatile and are suitable for several culinary and cosmetic purposes.

Try new recipes

Is a pickle a fruit or a vegetable?

You probably already know that cucumbers are a great, easy-to-make addition to traditional vegetable or fruit salads – and many don’t even want to imagine a world without pickles. But the culinary uses of cucumbers don’t end there.

Chop on making cucumber, the main ingredient in your salad. Try cutting it into thin strips and sprinkling with fresh herbs, lemon, and shredded feta cheese. Or make an Asian-style salad using rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, and toasted sesame seeds.

During warmer months, enjoy cucumber in a smoothie or gazpacho for an excellent refreshing flavor. Try mashing it with fresh melon and freezing it to make popsicles.

Cucumber has become a familiar guest on our table. What would vitamin salad do without thinly sliced ​​green circles in it? And can we imagine winter preparations without it? They are familiar to each of us, but how much do we know about this green vegetable or, perhaps, fruit? Is a pickle a fruit or a vegetable?

Is a pickle a fruit or a vegetable?

There is a lot of controversy about the true belonging of cucumber to one of the plant types. Someone calls it a vegetable, which is the most widespread opinion. Someone calls it a fruit.

But at the same time, it is very reasonably referred to as vegetable crops. In cooking, they are also referred to as vegetables.

Features of growing cucumbers

Cucumber is one of the most ancient vegetable crops, along with eggplants, beets, and peas, which account for such a great variety of its varieties and species.

This representative of the plant world is presented in the form of an elongated pumpkin. Often it has a rich emerald skin color, covered with tubercles or pimples that are more familiar to us. They are for the respiration of the plant. But for the gardener, they are an indicator of the maturity of the fruit for pickling.

This culture can be grown both in open ground and in a greenhouse by seedling and non-seedling methods. More consideration should be given to the soil when planting outdoors. Planting of the crop usually takes place at the end of April, when severe frosts are already behind, and their collection takes place from mid-August to the end of September.

The greenhouse method of growing usually guarantees a more saturated crop in terms of quantity and quality. Such fruits are juicier and more pleasant to the taste and ripen one to two weeks earlier than their “non-greenhouse” relatives. The most delicious and crunchy means unripe. It would be best if you didn’t wait for it to reach its maximum size.

Ripe and overripe fruits will have a watery taste and lack the freshness required of them. It can be grown both in open ground and in a greenhouse using seedling and non-seedling methods.

Valuable properties for the body

A well-known fact is that cucumber is almost entirely composed of water, namely 95%.

And also, the vegetable has the following beneficial properties :

  • is an excellent helper for the cardiovascular system, lowering blood pressure;
  • carries a slight drainage effect;
  • useful in the prevention of diseases of the kidneys, liver, and thyroid gland.

We must not forget about one of the main beneficial qualities of a vegetable: rejuvenation of the body. There are many cosmetic creams for the face and hands with the extract of this vegetable.

The rest of the composition is occupied by vitamins and minerals, which can pleasantly surprise with their amount. This is vitamin C, familiar to everyone, as a source of maintaining immunity. And vitamins of group B, which carry a stable state of the body. Moreover, it provides iodine, magnesium, iron, and phosphorus, which are essential body components.

Dishes made from it are a great help for those pursuing the goal of losing weight or simply getting healthier. So, there are only 16 calories per 100 grams of such a vegetable.

Surprisingly, in several countries of the East, cucumber is also perceived as a fruit. In Iran and Turkey, it is served sweet and always peeled. Season the vegetable with raisins, honey, or nuts. What is commerce for the West is pure tradition for the East.


Most of the inhabitants of our country do not ask a fundamental question whether they grow a vegetable or fruit in a garden or buy it in a store. The main thing is that the agricultural technology of growing a crop does not entirely depend on this question, just like its taste. Although a more correct, familiar, and practical definition of cucumber is the term “vegetable,” by which we have known and loved this culture for hundreds of years.

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