May 29, 2024 - News

Eat your greens

A map shows the most ordered veggie for each state in 2023, according to Instacart data. Greens (Iceberg, romaine, spinach or mixed greens) were the most ordered in 25 states. Cucumbers were most ordered in 10 states. Yellow onions or scallions were most ordered in 8 states. Carrots were most ordered in 6 states. Celery was most ordered in Alaska. Tomatoes were most ordered in California.
Data: Instacart; Map: Sara Wise/Axios

It's summer vegetable season and, if you're like most of your neighbors, that means cucumbers are on the menu.

The big picture: Cucumbers were the most-ordered veggie on Instacart in Arizona last year, according to the company.

Yes, but: Are cucumbers actually a vegetable? That depends on whom you ask.

The distinction between fruits and vegetables "is largely semantic and has different significance whether you're thinking like a botanist, a chef or a nutritionist," food writer and educator Pamela Vachon tells Axios.

  • Botanists might not even use the word "vegetable" at all, focusing instead on a plant's parts (including the root, leaves and fruit) and how it grows.
  • Nutritionists and chefs typically classify produce based on nutrients and taste (sweet vs. savory).

State of play: Cucumbers and other foods with seeds surrounded by flesh are typically considered fruits by botanists but vegetables by nutritionists and chefs.

The bottom line: Fruit or vegetable, cucumbers can be a healthy addition to your diet (unless, of course, you prepare them like Jessica's Midwestern grandmother with Miracle Whip, sour cream and sugar!).

Go deeper: Eat your veggies or whatever you call them

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