The second one actually means "thing". For example, you can say "edibles" (ingredients for food, "eat things") by saying 食べ物 or you can say 物語 (ものがたり) which contains the Kanji of 話す (はなす speak) or ご as in languages as second Kanji and means story.
This is a bit like する / します means "do" but you can bulid many word like "do the studies" 勉強する or "do the work" 仕事する or "do the shopping" 買い物する (this is actually more something like "do the buying thing"...)
I did some reading on this this morning. Apparently they can pretty much be pronounced identically (some dialectical distinctions, I'm sure), but ぢ is almost never used except for when replacing a kanji that uses the ち sound. Rule of thumb seems to be: if you hear "ji," think じ.
Is this Fruit in the sense of German "Obst" or "Frucht"? Or does this not differentiate between these two like in English? For those who do not understand the German words, basically a "Frucht" is something edible that grows on a plant after the flower was fertilized and contains seeds. Meanwhile, "Obst" are only the sweet ones (so a tomato is a "Frucht" but not "Obst", while apples, pears, cherrys, stwarberries etc. are "Frucht" and "Obst", "Obst" is always a "Frucht"). "Frucht" includes some vegetables, too - but vegetables are never "Obst". Cucumbers, Zucchini, pumpkins are not "Obst", but melons are, although all of them are relavtives - only the melon is a sweet fruit. Sweet potatoes are not "Obst" because they are not fruits, even if they are sweet. Since this concept of "Obst" seems not to exist in English, we always translate it as fruit, although this word is actually the same word (and the same old germanic origin) as "Frucht" and therefore has a different, more general meaning than "Obst".