Strawberries are well-loved for their plump, juicy, sweet taste. They are the first “fruit” of the season to ripen.
But is strawberry a fruit or vegetable? Some people say they are both, while others say they are only fruits.
This article will take a look at whether strawberries are fruit or vegetables.
Is Strawberry a Fruit or Vegetable?
The short answer is that strawberries are fruits and not vegetables. But there’s a longer answer here about the type of fruit that a strawberry is. Even though it has “berry” in its name, the strawberry is not really a berry.
Strawberries are fruits, although they’re different from many other kinds of fruit.
How Is Strawberry Different from Other Fruits?
Most fruits will contain their seeds in fleshy meat inside. Strawberries do not contain seeds on the inside. The seeds of strawberries are found on the outside of the fruit.
They are the only fruit that wears its seeds on its outside. An average strawberry can host approximately 200 seeds on its skin.
The white strawberry flower features a yellow center. This yellow center continues to develop after the flower blooms and ripens into a red fleshy strawberry. The sweet red flesh is what holds strawberry seeds in place. The red pulp functions as a type of container.
Interestingly, strawberry seeds can grow into strawberry plants. But most strawberry plants are reproduced using runners.
The strawberry fruit that we eat is actually the middle of a strawberry flower.
Is Strawberry an Achene?
The strawberry itself is not the achene, but the tiny green seeds on the strawberry surface are achene. So while them strawberry isn’t an achene, it holds many achenes.
First let’s consider what an achene is, a small dry fruit that has a single seed. This seed is found inside a capsule that protects it. The small green seeds on a strawberry’s surface are achene. They are the true fruit. If you could cut open an achene, you would see a seed inside.
Are Strawberries Aggregate Fruits?
Strawberries are technically considered an accessory aggregate fruit. Aggregate fruits develop from one flower, but this flower will have more than one ovary. Ovaries will fuse together as the fruit develops.
Strawberries are an accessory aggregate fruit, because every one of the single ovaries in a strawberry flower produces achene. The numerous achenes make it an aggregate fruit.
The strawberry’s fleshy pulp derives from the flower’s receptacle. For this reason they are “accessory” fruits. The achenes are set in this meaty sweet flesh.
Is a Strawberry a Berry?
Strawberries are not really berries. Botanically, a true berry will feature three separate layers.
These layers are:
- The exocarp or outer skin
- The mesocarp or fleshy berry middle
- The endocarp at the very center which contains the seeds
For a fruit to be a berry, it must feature a protective cover or structure. The outside layer or exocarp might be a skin, a peel, or just fuzz.
Strawberries do not have these characteristics or structures. They are not true berries in botanical terms.
True berries also contain two or more seeds. They develop from an individual flower that has a single ovary. The strawberry flower has multiple ovaries. In this sense, strawberries are also not true berries.
Strawberries are Man Made
Strawberries are not 100% natural. The strawberries that we eat today are a hybrid man-made version of the wild strawberry plant or Fragaria.
The strawberry found its place in home gardens in the 1700s. The woodland strawberry or Fragaria vesca was the first cultivated species in the early 17th century.
In the 1750s, the garden strawberry was bred in Brittany, France. It was cross bred from the Fragaria virginiana from the east coast of North America. It was joined with the Fragaria chiloensis brought from Chile as early as 1714.
Before this, wild strawberries were the sources for this fruit. Wild strawberry species were cultivated as well. The wild strawberry has a stronger aroma and flavor, but a much shorter shelf life.
The French created wild strawberries that grew to as much as 20 times their natural size. By today’s standards, those strawberries would still be considered small.
On July 6, 1764, the modern strawberry was born. Antoine Nicolas Duchesne bred the male Fragaria moschata and the female Fragaria chiloensis.
Health Benefits of Strawberries
Strawberries contain 91% water and 7.7% carbohydrates. There are minor quantities of fat and protein. Their carbohydrates are formed of fiber and simple sugars, so their glycemic index is low. They will not cause notable spikes in blood sugar.
The strawberry is a good source of vitamin C, folate, manganese, and potassium, as well as traces of other vitamins and minerals. This fruit possesses lots of antioxidants and plant compounds, all of which aid in the fight against chronic diseases.
1. Strawberries Regulate Blood Sugar
When you digest carbohydrates, they break down into simple sugars. These sugars then enter your bloodstream. Your body will release insulin that tells cells to pick up sugars and use them as fuel to burn or to store.
Excessively high sugar levels contribute to diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.
Strawberries slow the digestion of glucose. They reduce insulin and glucose spikes after meals.
2. Strawberries Help Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease is globally the most common cause of mortality. Observation-based research finds a link between berry consumption and a lower likelihood of heart issues.
They also improve HDL or good cholesterol. That helps to lower blood pressure, as well as improve blood platelet function.
3. Strawberries Aid in Cancer Prevention
Research suggests that strawberries can help prevent tumor formation. Studies show this in human liver cancer cells, and in animals with mouth cancer.
Cancer is the excessive growth of abnormal cells. It is linked to oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.
Is Strawberry a Fruit or Vegetable? Final Thoughts
Strawberries are fruits and an excellent food choice. They have many health benefits. They are delicious and easy to prepare. You should include them in your diet on a regular basis for their many benefits.
Read more about other plants and if they’re a fruit or vegetable: