Strawberries Aren’t Actually Berries. But These Unexpected Foods Are!

published Jul 27, 2015
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(Image credit: Aleksandra Zaitseva)

You might want to sit down for this. What I’m about to say might make you feel like the rug is getting pulled out from under your feet, like everything you’ve known to be good and true in the world is a complete lie.

Strawberries – those sweet, bright-red summer fruits you love so much — are not actually berries. You might be surprised, however, by some of the other foods that are technically berries.

What Constitutes a Berry?

Let’s start by taking a step back. A true berry is a fleshy fruit formed from the ovary of a single flower with a seed, or seeds, embedded on the inside of the flesh.

To put it simply, berries have seeds on the inside of the fruit. And you can see just from looking at a strawberry that its seeds are studded all around the outside of the fruit. So botanically speaking, strawberries don’t meet the definition of a berry.

Where Does That Leave Strawberries?

If strawberries aren’t true berries, then what are they exactly? This doesn’t flow off the tongue quite as easily as the word “berry,” but strawberries are actually considered “aggregate fruits” — fruits that develop from multiple ovaries of a single fruit.

Surprising Foods That Are Technically Berries

When you think of berries, I’m fairly certain none of these six foods come to mind. But according to the technical definition of a berry — fleshy fruits, produced from one flower with one ovary, containing seeds on the inside — they are. Here are a few surprising “berries“:

  • Banana
  • Avocado
  • Pumpkin
  • Tomato
  • Watermelon
  • Kiwi

For some of these fruits, particularly bananas, their seeds are so tiny we don’t even notice that they’re actually there.

“Berry” or not, I think we can all agree on one thing: Perfectly ripe strawberries are truly amazing gems of summer.

Read more → Bananas Are Berries?