“What do you mean a strawberry isn’t a berry?”
“I don’t think of it as a berry. It’s not what I want when I want a berry. Blueberries, raspberries, these are berries. A strawberry is not a berry.”
We went to a birthday brunch at Pres a Vi this weekend and after conversations about the new Bond movie, the San Diego Zoo, the Wire and the proper way to sing a round of “Row Row Row Your Boat” had been discussed at length our group gave the topic of berries a go around the chef’s table.
It all started with Sweetie playfully insisting that strawberries were the red headed step children of berries, which resulted in mild debate (Foodie Friend #1 wasn’t buying his reasoning that berries should exude juice when squeezed), but ultimately it was the iPhone that saved the day and enlightened us all.
According to Wikipedia, “True (botanical) berries are a simple fruit having seeds and pulp produced from a single ovary. In common parlance, however, berries are more broadly recognized as small, round or semi-oblong, usually brightly colored, sweet or sour fruit.”
Apparently we’ve been misled all these years because botanically speaking, tomatoes, grapes, eggplant and chili peppers are all berries.
Sweetie’s mind was blown when he found out tomatoes are in fact berries. We knew tomatoes were fruit at this point, but berries?
Even better, berry staples like blueberries and cranberries are “false” berries and so are strawberries, the fruit that started the whole investigation.
“I feel like I personally discovered something even though I don’t really own this information,” Sweetie said hours later as we both continued to marvel at our new knowledge.
“You’re the one that started it in the first place with the whole strawberries aren’t really berries thing so in way you did discover it.”
“Yeah, but I didn’t actually believe what I was saying.”
So yeah, the word berry is mostly ornamental. Gives you something to think about the next time you order a slice of berry pie.
[Photo of Beignets with Huckleberry Compote at Pres a Vi via Alexis Wright]