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Details separate fruits from vegetables

Q: Sometimes I see eggplant and tomatoes referred to as fruits. I thought they were vegetables. Can you explain?

A: It is confusing to understand what separates a fruit from a vegetable. The fruit is the part of a flowering plant that develops from the ovaryand contains the seeds. This includes sweet fleshy fruits and some vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, cucumber, tomatoes, sweet peppers and nuts. Vegetables are herbaceous plants cultivated for food. Different parts of the vegetables are eaten. Examples: the fruit (eggplant), leaves (spinach, cabbage, lettuce), bulb (shallots, onions, fennel), the tuber (potatoes), the germ (soya), or the root (carrots, turnips).

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Q: I can't find an example of the new food guide pyramid for daily requirements. Can you supply the information?

A: The revamped food guide pyramid from the U.S. Department of Agriculture sets forth the following daily minimum requirements:

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Breads, cereals, rice and pasta: 6-11 servings

Vegetable group: 3-5 servings

Fruit group: 2-4 servings

Milk, yogurt, cheese: 2-3 servings

Meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dry beans, nuts: 2-3 servings

Fats, oils, sweets: use sparingly

Send your questions to: What's Cooking, c/o Food & Home, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. Although personal replies are not possible, questions of general interest will be answered in this column.


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