How to Use Fruits and Vegetables in Expressing Yourself

Are you a vegetarian? Well, then, I am sure you will enjoy today’s topic. Okay, even if you’re not a vegetarian, this lesson on vocabulary and expressions will help you. So, grab a bowl of vegetable salad while reading through the text below.

We will talk about useful ways of describing various situations in life—mainly in a social context. These are fruit and vegetable idioms that will help you describe certain relationships and interactions with other people.  This is especially useful if you plan to spend time in an English-speaking country. You’d hear these a lot from native speakers. And it’s pretty cool if you get to use some of these expressions or drop in a really cool phrase using your fruit idioms.

Let’s try this story, shall we? So, let’s use my cousin Paul as the main character here.


1) Couch potato

My cousin, Paul, has had a terrible time recently, so he has become a couch potato.

This means that after a bad experience, he started becoming a couch potato. A couch is something you lie on. It’s a sofa. Potato is not a very attractive vegetable, unlike a carrot or cucumber. It is brown and round and does not portray a good picture when used to describe somebody. If you’re a potato lying on a sofa, you’re not going to get the girls, you don’t get anything done, and it’s like you don’t have any dreams or goals for your life. You’re just lying there watching basketball or soccer all day long. If you’re a couch potato, you’re a lazy person who watches a lot of TVs.

2) To dangle a carrot

I am concerned about him. I need to dangle a carrot! So I went to see him one day and said, “Paul, come on! Let’s have some beer at my friend’s party. Then let’s go on a picnic at the beach this weekend and enjoy the sun!”

So, I need to invite him to participate in life—go out, meet new people, and try living again outside the four walls of his apartment. He needs to take part in any activity outside his home. Just imagine a goat, a horse, or a rabbit that wants a carrot with this expression. So if I offer my pet horse or rabbit a carrot, it’s going to follow my carrot.

To dangle a carrot means to offer a reward or something that he’d really like.

3) Go bananas

Paul really liked the carrot that I dangled. So we went to a party, and we went bananas!

“Went” is the past tense of “go.” This means that we really had a good time at that party.

4) Full of beans

Now he’s a happy fellow. He’s full of beans! He was enjoying himself and seemed to forget about his problem.

Beans here are like little bubbles of energy. He’s pleased and so alive—the opposite of couch potato. So, now he’s full of energy. He’s ready to play sports, and he’s ready to do anything productive. Full of beans means he’s feeling complete and revived.

5) Bad apple

Unfortunately, at one of those weekend parties, a bad person came along. Paul and I thought he was a bad apple. I thought Paul really needs to stay away from him to get out of trouble.

When we go out a lot and meet new people at work or at social events, we come across various people. So, a bad apple is a bad influence and brings trouble to your life.

6) Rotten to the core

Hmm, I was right about that man. We found out that he’s rotten to the core! He has a string of police records.

Old fruit is mushy, and the color doesn’t look too good. It has got a worm coming out, and when you slice it open, it’s rotten inside. Rotten fruit is no longer any good and cannot be eaten. So a person who is rotten to the core is bad all the way in.

7) Upset the applecart

We did not like this bad person around. And I was very protective of my cousin because he’s just come out of a bad situation.  I cannot stand seeing him get into another kind of trouble. Stan helped me out, and we upset the applecart.

Upsetting a cart means you push it, and all its contents fall to the ground. This is a phrase from a long time ago—about a hundred years back. You can see this scenario in village markets in the English countryside. So, there would be these market people pushing their carts of vegetables and fruits, shouting, “Pound for a bag, pound for a bag! Come buy my fresh apples!” Then, there’d be some kids running around the streets and upset their cart. So, of course, the old man is really annoyed because all his apples are on the ground.

8) Cherry-pick

So this man is rotten to the core, and Stan upset the apple cart.  He told him to go away. That man has gone away now, and I told Paul that we need to cherry-pick our friends. As we cherry-picked our friends, we eventually met some nice girls at a friends’ place one evening.

Pick means to select or choose. Cherries are adorable, small, and red fruits. When you pick fruits, you want to get only the nice ones, not the rotten ones.

9) A peach

There’s one girl that particularly caught Paul’s attention. She’s really a peach!

This means that the girl is quite beautiful.

10) Cool as a cucumber

Paul became excited about meeting this really nice and pretty girl. I reminded him to be as cool and calm as a cucumber.

Cucumber is especially delicious when chilled and dipped in a sauce or when mixed in a salad.

11) In a pickle

He cannot be in a pickle and be over-excited or nervous about talking to this girl. We needed to be sure also that she has no current boyfriend. He can’t go hiding in a corner either and think, “Oh, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say to her.”

I told him,Paul,  I don’t want you in a pickle. So I asked and found out that she’s single. Just be cool as a cucumber. Go say hi to her and start a light conversation.”

A pickle is a sour food. It is a small cucumber preserved in a jar of vinegar. This phrase means a difficult or messy situation.

12) apple of my eye (apple of a person’s eye)

  After some time, she soon became the apple of his eye.   –The End –

This means he has become so fond of her. Now, we’re talking about a really nice apple here—and not a rotten one. Anybody likes eating a good apple, one that’s red, juicy, and sweet. You can also often hear this expression when we describe a father who loves his daughter very much. For example, you ask a mother, ‘Who is your husband’s favorite child?” She then answers, “Danielle is the apple of his eye.” When someone is the apple of your eye, that person is very dear to your heart.

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So, I encourage you to try and use these new expressions you’ve learned today. If I was a couch potato, I wouldn’t learn any of these things. I spent my free time learning new English vocabulary by reading many English novels and writing my daily journal in English.  I was always full of beans when learning English!

I am pretty sure you’re excited about learning a second language, too! Don’t be shy in practicing your phrases and sentences. You can start by cherry-picking the phrases that would be most useful to you for daily conversations and then remember them. Once you’ve built your English skills, you’d go bananas talking to people from various countries! Interacting with them or writing them messages on Facebook or Twitter will be as easy as pie!

Learning English is really fun!

I have a passion for the English language because it is such a powerful tool for creativity and personal development. I've been writing articles since I was in High School. I represented my school in English writing competitions in the city, regional, and national levels. When I was in college, I wrote a short story which was published in the University Literary Portfolio. In 2006, I worked as a call center agent in Cebu City. In 2007 up to 2008, I worked as an English accent trainer in a startup call center company. I have also been offering ESL lessons as a freelance tutor since February 2016.