However it’s described, watermelon is still a fruit

  • Thursday, July 28, 2011 12:01am
  • Life

Q: How can watermelon be Oklahoma’s state vegetable? I thought it was a fruit.

A: Botanists describe fruit as the fleshy part of a plant that contains seeds and a vegetable as any other edible plant part.

The rest of us tend to think in terms of flavor: Fruits are sweet and vegetables aren’t. So while a botanist considers a tomato a fruit, the less botanically minded see it as a vegetable. By either definition, watermelon is a fruit.

But in 2007, the Oklahoma Legislature declared the watermelon the state’s official vegetable. The reasoning? According to the law, “The watermelon may in fact be considered both a fruit and a vegetable as a result of its membership in the botanical family Curcurbitaceae, with other family members such as the cucumber, pumpkin and squash.”

However watermelons are defined, Oklahoma produces tons of them — about 20,000 in 2008. Every summer, several fairs celebrate the state vegetable.

Q: Are there other ways to preserve tomatoes besides canning?

A: There are several other ways to preserve your bounty. One is oven-drying. This method — cooking the tomatoes at low heat for several hours — concentrates the flavor, giving it a rich zing.

Once dried, tomatoes can be frozen for up to six weeks. Use them chopped to add depth to sauces and soups. Also try substituting them for basil in pesto.

Toss the mixture with pasta or use it as a sandwich spread; the intense taste can transform a dish. For a recipe, go to

Address questions to Ask Martha, care of Letters Department, Martha Stewart Living, 601 W. 26th St., Ninth floor, New York, NY 10001. Send email to

© 2011 Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.

Talk to us

More in Life

Penn Cover Brewery owners, Mitch and Mark Aparicio, at their new Freeland location on Thursday, July 22, 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Brewery in the barn: Here’s Whidbey’s newest craft-beer hotspot

Penn Cove Brewing Co. has expanded its operations to a scenic spot on Whidbey Island with views of Holmes Harbor and the Olympic Mountains.

Old dogs like Merlin provide great company, even while snoring. (Jennifer Bardsley)
This old dog of mine: A tribute to my fluffy couch potato

Sleeping has become this poodle’s full-time job. He’ll take five naps a day, in between turns around the yard.

Marriage basics: How to resolve your relationship conflicts

The top five sources of conflict in relationships? Sex, money, children, in-laws and household chores.

Romantic lakeside dining in Varenna.
Rick Steves’ Europe: Lago di Como: Where Italians honeymoon

It’s one of several beautiful lakes in Italy’s northern Alpine region, a tourism mecca for centuries.

Wintergreen adds a pop of red to the garden all winter long. (Getty Images)
Though they’re cold, fall and winter can be colorful seasons too

You have no shortage of choices when it comes to planting for fall and winter interest in the garden.

Ginkgo biloba "Autumn Gold" features brilliant fall color and scalloped leaves similar to those of maidenhair ferns. (Great Plant Picks)
Great Plant Pick: Ginkgo biloba ‘Autumn Gold’ aka maidenhair tree

This tree features brilliant fall color and scalloped leaves similar to those of maidenhair ferns.

Expedia problem leads to a missed flight — and no refund

When Expedia fails to pay for Joanna Heath’s return flight to Los Angeles, she must buy a new ticket. Now the online agency refuses to refund the new ticket. What gives?

Anthony Brock Group performs during the soft opening of Black Lab Gallery in it's new location Friday night in Everett on October 9, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Everett’s music and art hotspot upgrades to a much larger space

Black Lab Gallery moves a block up Hewitt Avenue, and the new Lucky Dime takes over its former location.

Catapult, the dance company best known for their time on “America’s Got Talent,” will perform on Oct. 23 in Edmonds. (Catapult)
Catapult troupe sculpts shadow illusions with their bodies

You can see the dance company of “America’s Got Talent” fame at two shows in Edmonds on Oct. 23.

Most Read