Cookbook | Recipes | Ingredients | Basic foodstuffs

This is a list of all the fruits generally considered edible by various cultures and used for culinary purposes. Some are not widely used and would be hard to get a hold of, but they offer interesting alternatives to the common or garden varieties.

Note that this is a list of "fruits" in the culinary sense of the word, not the botanical sense of the word. Consequently, items that are botanically classified as fruits, but are usually referred to in cooking as "vegetables" (such as the tomato) will be in the vegetables section, and not here. For a discussion of the botanical vs. culinary definitions of that part of a plant called the "fruit" see Fruit at Wikipedia.

There exist also many fruits that are certainly edible and locally popular but for various reasons have not become widespread in their use. Often this is due to marketing considerations, more than anything.

Temperate fruitsEdit

Fruits of temperate climates are almost universally borne on trees or woody shrubs or lianas. They will not grow adequately in the tropics, as they need a period of cold (a chilling requirement) each year before they will flower. The apple, pear, cherry, and plum are the most widely grown and eaten, owing to their adaptability. Many other fruits are important regionally but do not figure prominently in commerce. Many sorts of small fruit on this list are gathered from the wild, just as they were in Neolithic times.

The Rosaceae dominates the temperate fruits, both in numbers and in importance. The pome fruits, stone fruits, brambles, and strawberry are all members of Rosaceae.

The pome fruits:

Fuji apples
  • Apple and crabapple (Malus spp.)
  • Chokeberry also called cooking apple (Aronia spp.)
  • Haw, the fruit of the hawthorn (Crataegus spp.)
  • Juneberry or saskatoon (Amelanchier spp.)
  • Medlar (Mespilus germanica)
  • Pear, European and Asian species (Pyrus spp.)
  • Quince (Cydonia oblonga and Chaenomeles spp.)
  • Rowan or mountain ash (Sorbus aucuparia)
  • Sorb or sorb apple, the fruit of the service tree (Sorbus domestica)
  • Asian pear

The stone fruits, drupes of the Genus Prunus:

  • Apricot
  • Cherry, sweet, sour, and wild species (Prunus avium, P. cerasus, and others)
  • Plum, of which there are several domestic and wild species; dried plums are called prunes
  • Peach and its variant the nectarine (Prunus persica)
  • Hybrids of the preceding species, such as the pluot

In non-technical usage, berry means any small fruit that can be eaten whole and lacks objectionable seeds. The bramble fruits, compound fruits of the Genus Rubus, are some of the most popular pseudo-berries:

The true berries are dominated by the Family Ericaceae, many of which are hardy in the subarctic:

Other berries (not in Ericaceae):

Red currants

Some fruits native to Asia that were not common elsewhere until the 20th century:

Some tree fruits native to North America that are eaten in a small way:

  • Buffaloberry (Shepherdia argenta), which grows wild in the prairies of Canada
  • Chokeberry (Aronia spp.)
  • American grape: North American species (e.g., Vitis labrusca) and American-European hybrids are grown where Vitis vinifera is not hardy and are used as rootstocks
  • Juneberry or saskatoon, which is cultivated in Canada (Amelanchier spp.)
  • Pawpaw (Asimina triloba, not to be confused with Carica papaya, which is called pawpaw in some English dialects)
  • American persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

Several cacti yield edible fruits, which are important traditional foods for some Native American peoples:

Some exceptions to the statement that temperate fruits grow on woody perennials are:


The false fruits are not botanically fruits at all but are used as fruits in the kitchen:


Mediterranean and subtropical fruitsEdit

Fruits in this category are not hardy to extreme cold, as the preceding temperate fruits are, yet tolerate some frost and may have a modest chilling requirement. Notable among these are natives of the Mediterranean:

In the important genus Citrus some members are tropical, tolerating no frost. All common species of commerce are somewhat hardy:


Other subtropical fruits:

Tropical fruitsEdit

Tropical fruit grow on plants of all habits. The only characteristic that they share is an intolerance of frost.

tropical fruit

See alsoEdit