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Is Pepper a Fruit or a Vegetable? [Explained Why]

Different types of Pepper found in the market, including Jalapeno, Bell, Chili, and Sichuan, are often questioned for being a fruit or vegetable.

Generally, Pepper is a botanical fruit that bears seeds and is produced from the flower. However, in the culinary case, it is a vegetable that you can cook with stews and soups. So, Pepper can serve as “Fruit” or “Vegetable.”

Read along to get insights on different types of Pepper and distinguish between the fruit and vegetable Peppers.

Introduction to Pepper

Pepper is a type of spice that enhances the taste of vegetables. Chefs around the world use it for seasoning foods.

Not only that, but they also use Peppers as vegetables, side dishes, and salads in original or powdered forms and are readily available in the market.

Here, Pepper is of different types, including spicy forms (chili peppers), mild forms (bell pepper, red Pepper, green Pepper), and sweet form (paprika).

Meanwhile, the Pepper of the Piperaceae family provides medicinal benefits and culinary use that can cure upset stomach, bronchitis, migraine, asthma, and other diseases.

The spices included in the Piperaceae are Black Pepper, Long Pepper, tailed Pepper, etc.

While bell, cayenne, and chili peppers fall under the Solanaceae family, consumed both raw and cooked as a fruit and vegetable, respectively.

Is Pepper Fruit or Vegetable? [Botanical Vs. Culinary Classification]

It may be confusing to find out that some fruits can be vegetables and some vegetables as fruits, based on how the culinary or botanical experts see them.

For botanists, a fruit must contain seeds and develop from a flower. Similarly, they define vegetables as edible parts of a plant, like a stem, leaves, roots, and flowers.
Dish made from Pepper mainly the bell Pepper.
Pepper can be eaten both raw or cooked.

However, these thought changes when it comes to culinary experts. They describe fruits as something that has a sweet and sharp-sour taste.

Besides, vegetables taste mild and delicious when cooked and sometimes act as a main course or a side dish.

The Difference Between Fruits and Vegetables

  • Vegetables usually have less sugar and calories compared to fruits, as fruits are on the sweeter side.
  • Usually, it is the same, but some fruits have a higher fiber quantity than vegetables.
  • Leafy vegetables have up to 90% water compared to fruits with 89% water.
  • Different types of fruits and vegetables have different types of nutrients.

Pepper can be a fruit or vegetable, depending on who you ask.

Peppers are Fruits in Botanical Sense

Botanically speaking, Peppers can be called fruit because of their physical characteristics and functions.

Fruits are formed to continue the plant’s existence via seeds’ offspring, and Peppers are no different as they are mature ovaries possessing seeds to continue their generation.

Pepper has several seeds that you can replant in high moisture with an ideal temperature of 70-90°F, suitable warmth, and moderate light.

On top of that, Pepper grows from the flower of the Pepper plant and has a leathery coated skin, giving us more reasons to believe that it is a fruit.

So, taking Pepper’s origin and physical development, it is mainly regarded as a botanical fruit.

Peppers are Vegetables in Culinary Sense

Chefs worldwide classify Pepper as a vegetable and have used it for years to enhance food taste.

Thanks to its culinary properties and ability to bring that mild savory taste to any food prepared by cooking, Pepper is considered a vegetable.

Even nutritionists and chefs believe Pepper to be a valuable ingredient for dishes, classifying it as a vegetable.

You can use Peppers to prepare stews, soups or as fried dishes in homes and restaurants.

Also, Peppers’ nutritional content as a fruit and vegetable are the same. So it does not matter if you eat it as a fruit or vegetable.

Pepper: Fruit or Vegetable Based on Family

After learning the botanical and culinary references, you can guess that Peppers can be both fruits and vegetables depending upon the purpose of use.

So keeping this in mind, look at the points below to get a clear insight into the difference.

1. Peppers Falling Under Piperaceae

Black Pepper is a flowering plant that falls in the family of Piperaceae.

The single seed in black Pepper is peppercorn and a berry. Berries are a subcategory of simple fleshy fruits. Therefore, black Pepper is a fruit.

Although you can consider all berries as fruits, fruits cannot be berries in all cases.

Other categories of Piparaceae regarded as fruit is white Pepper, Green Pepper, and Red Pepper, as they all come from the same plant, only the color is different.

The Peppers falling under this category are usually grounded and used in powder form in different cuisines and can substitute one another.

2. Peppers Falling Under Anacardiaceae

The Pepper tree, famous as Schinus molle and American Pepper, is a plant that falls under the family of Anacardiaceae and has majorly decorative benefits.

And do not fall for its sweet, pink appearance, as they are nearly as spicy as Black Pepper.

Black Pepper and Pink Pepper are not related, as the Black Pepper is grounded into powder before the actual consumption and are true Peppers.

While pink Peppers are not peperomias but berries that grow on trees and are primarily famous for medicinal purposes to treat infections and wounds.

If taste compared, then Pink peppers taste similar to black ones, but they are milder and fruity.

3. Capsicum Pepper Under Solanaceae

Bell Peppers are botanically classified as berries, so one would assume they fall under fruits. Well, they are not wrong. Botanically, they are fruits.

However, after years of consuming Bell Peppers by cooking and as salads have established them as a vegetable in culinary.

The genus Capsicum contains more than 20 species, which can be vegetables or fruits, depending on their use.

The list includes cultivars like Jalapeno, Cayenne, Habanero, Banana Pepper, Poblano, and Peri-peri with different heat capacities ranging from the spiciest to sweet flavored.

4. Sichuan Pepper Under Rutaceae

Sichuan Pepper is a variety of Pepper that falls in the genus Zanthoxylum and family Rutaceae.

They originated from China and are common in Nepali and Chinese cuisines.

Like most other categories of Peppers, Sichuan Pepper is not a true Pepper and is not as spicy as the black Pepper.

Also, Sichuan has tiny fruits picked from amongst their thorny branches and dried out in the sun. After drying, they open up and reveal black seeds inside.

While opening up, they form a flowery pattern, and you need to discard the bitter seed inside and consume the husk.

Putting It All Together!

You can eat Peppers as salads, use them as seasonings or consume them raw to challenge your taste buds.

However, it does not change the fact that Pepper is both fruit and vegetable, which gives a savory, sweet, spicy touch to your dishes along with the addition of vitamins and minerals.

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