Observations and results
Did some types of fruit clearly have more seeds than others? Did the cucumbers, squash, tomato and pepper have a lot of seeds, easily over 100 each? Did the apple only have a few seeds, no more than 10?
Fruits are divided into three general groups, with the "simple fruits" group making up the majority we encounter. They're formed from one ovary in one of the plant's flowers. As the ovary turns into fruit, different ovary parts become different fruit parts; when fertilized, small structures called ovules become the fruit's seeds—and more fertilized ovules means more seeds! The other two fruit groups are more complex. In "aggregate fruit"—such as raspberries—multiple ovaries fuse on a single flower. In the third group, called "multiple fruit," many ovaries and flowers unite. A pineapple is a good example of a "multiple fruit."
Cucumbers, melons and squash are simple fruits (they are part of a fruit type called pepo, which are berries) with a firm rind and softer, watery interior. And, as you probably saw, these fruits make many seeds! A zucchini or cucumber can easily have a couple hundred neatly patterned seeds.
Tomatoes, grapes, kiwifruit and peppers are also simple fruits (technically true berries) with fleshier walls and usually very fluid insides—think of how watery a ripe tomato is! Some, like tomatoes and peppers, can have a couple hundred seeds, whereas others, like kiwifruit, can have several hundred! Citrus fruits are berries (a type called hesperidium), too, with leathery rinds and usually only a few seeds.
Similarly, apples and pears also only have a few seeds (10 at most) but are not berries—they belong to a different fruit type, known as pomes, which have some fruit flesh not made from the flower's ovary, but rather from plant tissue near the ovary, which is the same for strawberries.
Dispose of the seeds from your fruit or, if you're motivated and curious, look into how you could grow plants from your seeds. You can eat the rest of the fruit or save it for a tasty, healthy snack later!
More to explore
Plant Structures: Fruit from Colorado State University Extension
How do seedless fruits arise and how are they propagated? from Scientific American
Cache Crop: Rodents May Have Replaced Extinct Megafauna as Seed Dispersers [Video] from Scientific American
Lab 5: Fruits and Flowers from Kellogg Community College
Seed Saving Tips from West Virginia University Extension Service
How Many Seeds Do Different Types of Fruit Produce? from Science Buddies
This activity brought to you in partnership with Science Buddies