Is rice a vegetable, fruit or grain? This is a question that many people who care about plants ask. Let’s see what the answer is from a culinary and botanical perspective.
Rice, which in Latin is called Oryza sativa, is a food that is found in almost all homes in the world.
Most of the world’s population consumes this food, even more than 50% of the world’s population makes rice as a staple food. This has been going on for centuries until now.
Countries with populations that consume rice are scattered all over the world and most of them are in Asia, and Africa. Included among those who occupy the top are India, Indonesia, China.
In these three countries, morning farming is the most common occupation, followed by sugarcane and corn farming.
However, where should we classify rice, is rice a vegetable, a grain or a fruit or something else.
If we want to know, there are actually a lot of discussions about this on various websites and online forums including Quora, Reddit, or do food forums and forums related to agriculture and plantations.
Well, today we’re going to talk about this, and we’re going to share our topic around the discussion of “is rice a vegetable?” and then we will draw our own conclusions.
You may agree with what we say and you may not. However, what we have conveyed has also referred to accurate sources and data.
Before we make decisions and conclusions about whether rice is a vegetable, we must first understand what a rice plant is from a botanical point of view, and how to understand it as a food-producing plant.
In science, the plant that produces rice is known as Oryza Sativa, this is a type of grass that belongs to the Gramineae or Poaceae family. Let’s take a closer look at rice.
Is Rice A Vegetable?
Well, to be clear in understanding whether rice is a vegetable or not, then we need to know the definition of vegetables correctly, so that later we will understand about rice properly.
Let us quote the meaning of vegetables based on the wikipedia site, there it is stated that “vegetables are part of plants that are eaten by humans or other animals as food”. Wikipedia.
More clearly wikipedia states that the original meaning of “vegetable” includes all parts of the plant that can be eaten, this includes fruit, leaves, seeds, flowers, stems and roots. All of them are grouped as vegetables.
There is also an alternative meaning of the word “vegetable”, which states that there are exceptions to the more specific group of vegetables such as fruit, nuts, legumes, and cereal grains.
Sometimes it also includes fruits such as tomatoes, zucchini, flowers such as broccoli, and sometimes also includes seeds such as pulses.
Well, if we look at the original meaning of “vegetable” like this, which is all parts of the plant that can be eaten, then we can say that “rice is a vegetable.”
However, if we look at alternative meanings that have exceptions, we will find a narrower meaning for vegetables, so that sometimes rice must be removed from the definition of vegetables.
Is Rice A Fruit?
Again we ask, is rice included in the vegetable group? There are also those who say that rice is a fruit. Well, if we say rice is included in fruit, then we need to look at the definition of “fruit” first.
What is a fruit?
The meaning of the fruit usually varies depending on the part of each.
The definition of fruit based on the culinary sector is: “a fruit is usually any sweet-tasting plant part, especially a botanical fruit.” Wikipedia.
How, do we say that rice is a fruit if we look at it from a culinary point of view?
Rice sometimes contains a low sugar value, but it can be digested easily so rice is sometimes categorized as a food with a medium to high glycemic index.
This means that consuming rice in large quantities can cause a spike in blood sugar. So people with diabetes should limit their intake of rice too often, including those of you who take rice as a staple food or not.
Botanical definition of a fruit:
Meanwhile, the meaning of fruit from a botanical perspective is more complicated. But I will explain it easily by taking only the important parts.
From wikipedia, it is stated that botanically the fruit is:
“A fruit results from the maturation of one or more flowers and the gynoecium of the flower(s) forms all or part of the fruit.” Wikipedia.
There are other definitions from different sources
“A fruit, is the fleshy or dry ripened ovary of a flowering plant, enclosing the seed or seeds.” Britannica.com.
So, in conclusion from these two sources are:
The fruit is formed directly from the ovary of the flower
Flesh wrap, there is at least one seed or more.
Well, now we consider “rice”, does it fit this definition so that we can say “rice” as “fruit”.
Does the rice grain form directly from the ovary of a flower?
Rice is a grass, rice flower is very different from other plants like mango or grape, however rice grains fall under this definition and it is formed from the ovary of flowers.
Meaning of rice according to Plant Village:
“rice grains are formed from ripe flower grains with sizes 5 and 12 mm in length.” Plant Village.
Does the flesh contain seeds or many seeds?
Well, rice has no flesh, but from a botanical perspective, not all fruit has to be covered with flesh, so it can be called a “fruit”. These types of fruit are called “caryopses,” or as they are popularly known as, “grains.”
What is Caryopsis? It is a dry fruit with a protective fruit wall part and it fuses with the seed.
From a botanical perspective, we can also say that rice also contains fruit characteristics.
So, if we look from the point of view of plant science (botany) then rice can be said as a fruit.
Is Rice A Grain?
True, rice is a grain, the word “grain” is not a classification from a botanical point of view, but the mention of grain to rice is a very popular and very common term for caryopsis fruits.
So, rice and other cereals such as barley, wheat, and oats, can also be said as grains in common language in society. But botanically, this has no significance.
Is Rice A Seed?
True, rice can also be said as a seed.
The grains of rice or the part of the Oryza sativa plant that we eat are also called the seeds of the plant. So, technically, the rice is also a call as seed.
So for rice, is rice a vegetable, a grain or a seeds? It depends on the context of the word, it can be called a vegetable from one side, it can be called a fruit from the other side or as a grain and seed.