Is An Avocado a Berry?
Here’s what you need to know.
If you’ve ever wondered whether an avocado is a fruit or a vegetable, you’ve come to the right place. To answer your question: Yes, avocados are fruits. More specifically, though, they’re berries. Here’s why avocados are considered berries—and why strawberries aren’t:
What’s An Avocado?
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An avocado is a fruit (yes, a fruit!) that likely originated in south-central Mexico. It contains one large seed and is considered—botanically at least—to be a berry.
The berry has dark green skin and greenish-yellow flesh with a butter consistency and slightly nutty flavor.
In a culinary sense, the versatile avocado can be treated as a fruit or a vegetable. It is often sliced and added to salads, blended into soups or smoothies, or mashed to become guacamole.
Full of healthy fat, avocados can actually serve as a fat replacement in certain dessert recipes (see this decadent Dark Chocolate Avocado Cake With Chocolate Frosting).
Fruit vs. Vegetable
Let’s back up to sixth grade biology: According to Merriam-Webster (because I’m definitely not a botanist), a fruit is the usually edible reproductive body of a seed plant. A vegetable, meanwhile, is a usually herbaceous plant (such as the cabbage, bean, or potato) grown for an edible part that is usually eaten as part of a meal.
In layman’s terms, a fruit contains seeds on the inside and a vegetable doesn’t.
What Makes a Berry a Berry?
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A berry, which has a fleshy exocarp (rind) and a fleshy mesocarp (pulp), is any soft and fleshy fruit that comes from a flower with a single ovary. This means avocados, tomatoes, bananas, and oranges are all technically berries. Do you know what’s not technically a berry? The strawberry. An “accessory fruit,” strawberries come from a flower with more than one ovary.
What a world, right?
Berry vs. Drupe
At first glance, avocados have more in common with peaches (drupes) than with grapes (berries). Here’s the difference:
A berry is a fleshy fruit with many seeds inside (blueberries, tomatoes, oranges, grapes, etc). Berries have a fleshy endocarp (inner layer) and mesocarp (middle layer).
A stone fruit or drupe, meanwhile, is a fleshy fruit with a hard pit inside which contains a single seed (peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots, etc). Drupes have a fleshy mesocarp but a tough, leathery endocarp.
An avocado is fleshy throughout, so it cannot be considered a drupe.
Related: Is a Pumpkin a Fruit or Vegetable?
Avocado Health Benefits
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No matter what you call them, avocados are incredibly nutritious. Some major avocado health benefits are:
- They’re super high in potassium, which can reduce blood pressure and the risk of certain diseases. In fact, avocados have even more potassium than bananas.
- They’re packed with fiber. You probably know that fiber is essential for good digestion, but it also promotes heart health and weight management.
- They’re rich in healthy fats, such as oleic acid. This monounsaturated fatty acid, which is also found in olive oil, can reduce inflammation and the risk of certain diseases.
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Get your avocado fix with one of these delicious recipes:
Get more recipes: 81 Delicious Ways to Use Avocado (That Aren't Just On Toast)