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Halachot of Berachot  

General Rule:  It is possible to alter the bracha of fruits and vegetables by cooking or blending them.

1. Raw VS Cooked

1. Fruits and vegetables which are normally eaten cooked but not raw – would receive their ideal bracha (He’eitz or Ha’adoma) when cooked, and only shehakol when eaten raw.

Examples would be: quince, and peanuts. (almost all peanuts are roasted, either in or out of the shell, and therefore raw peanuts would be shehakol.)

2. Fruits and vegetables which are normally eaten raw and not cooked – receive their ideal bracha in their raw state, and a shehakol when cooked.

An examples would be: watermelon.

3. Fruits and vegetables which are normally eaten either raw or cooked, receive their ideal bracha both when raw or cooked.

Examples: carrots, and apples

4. When deciding the normal manner of eating a particular fruit or vegetable – it is not that raw VS cooked has to be 50-50. As long as it wouldn’t be considered strange in that particular location – then it would maintain the ideal bracha.

5. Location: Although people generally cook or steam string beans and zucchini, it is also acceptable to eat them raw in America. Therefore, raw string beans would be Ha’adoma in America. However, since almost no one does so in Israel, raw string beans would be shehakol.

An American visiting Israel would follow his America customs, but one would makes aliyah would need to adopt Israel’s custom, and would now have to make shehakol on raw string beans.

2. Mashed and Blended

The Shulchan Aruch writes (O.C. 205:4) that even finely chopped fruits and vegetables retain their ideal bracha. If however, there were blended to a puree - well then it is a dispute among the Rishonim. Rambam is of the opinion that fruits never lose their identity even when mashed to an unrecognizable puree. Rashi, on the other hand, holds that a solid fruit looses it's identity when it turns into a liquid.

The halachic consensus is that one should make a shehakol on fruits and vegetables that are mashed or blended so much that they are no unrecognizable.

If part is mashed and part remains intact in chunks like the pieces in jelly – it would retain its ideal bracha. Preferably, when one makes the ideal bracha, he should try to include an intact chunk in his first bite and have in mind to cover the jelly part.

Popcorn retains its Ha’adoma even after popping – because despite changing in physical appearance, the kernel remains intact.

Side Point : These rules of “not being recognizable” only apply to vegetables and fruits, whereas rice and the five grains retain their ideal bracha even when milled into fine flour.  Therefore, cake made with wheat flour is mezonot despite the fact you can’t recognize the wheat in the cake.

Exception: There are some fruits and vegetables which even after a thorough mashing are recognizable due to their unique texture. The examples I know for sure are bananas, eggplant, and potatoes. Therefore, finely mashed potatoes are nevertheless Ha’adoma.

According to Rav Bodner, Peanuts do not have their own unique texture and therefore plain smooth peanut butter would be shehakol. However, there are poskim that argue and contend that even smooth Peanut Butter is Ha'adoma. The good news is that since almost all the time people eat peanut butter on bread or crackers - it becomes tofel (see the laws of Ikar and Tofel) and this dispute is merely hypothetical.

3. BedeEved - After the Fact

If one made the ideal bracha on a food which really deserved a shehakol since it had been significantly altered - the bracha, nevertheless, works and a new bracha would NOT be needed.

 

Some Common Examples:

Popcorn – Ha’adoma, since kernel is intact

Cake – Mezonot, since these rules don’t apply to rice or five grains

Apple Sauce - If merely mashed - Ha'eitz, but if strained then shehakol

Mashed Banana – Ha’adoma

Mashed Carrots – Shehakol

Smooth Peanut Butter – Shehakol (Some Say Ha'adoma)

Chunky Peanut Butter – Ha’adoma

Instant Potatoes – The commonly accepted minhag is to make Ha’adoma. Rav Bodner explains “even though the dehydrated potato granules are unrecognizable, nevertheless, since the finished product looks exactly like mashed potatoes it is considered recognizable.

Potato Chips – Ha’adoma, even though they are so thin, they are actual potato slices

Pringles – still Ha’adoma, as Rav Bodner explains “since the end product is recognizably a potato chip.”

Potato Kugal – If made from shredded potatoes – then everyone agrees it’s Ha’adoma since it’s recognizable. If made from ground potato flour, then some say shehakol. However, the commonly accepted minhag is to always make Ha’adoma on all types of Potato Kugal

Corn Chips – are normally made from milled corn and therefore shehakol

Sugar – since sugar is significantly altered from the original sugar cane to the final product, it is shehakol. (There are minority opinions which hold Sugar is Ha’eitz or Ha’adoma and this becomes important in terms of order of brochos.)

Chocolate – (same as sugar) Although it comes from a fruit, receives shehakol since significantly altered.


 

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