What Beracha does one recite over mashed potatoes? If a person eats a boiled or baked potato, he of course recites the Beracha of "Bore Peri Ha'adama," because potatoes grow from the ground. Is this Beracha recited over mashed potatoes, as well, or do the potatoes "lose" this Beracha once they are mashed into a paste which bears no outward resemblance to the original potatoes?
The Rambam (Rabbi Moshe Maimonides, Spain-Egypt, 1135-1204), in his Hilchot Berachot (5:4), addresses the question of which Beracha one recites over a crushed date, and draws a fundamental distinction between a crushed date and the nectar extracted from a date. One who drinks the nectar extracted from a date clearly recites the Beracha of "She'hakol," rather than "Bore Peri Ha'etz." Since the person eats the nectar, and not the actual fruit, he recites "She'hakol," the Beracha generally recited over beverages, rather than the Beracha recited over fruit. If, however, a person mashes a date and turns it into a paste, then he recites "Bore Peri Ha'etz" despite the fact that the paste bears no outward resemblance to the original date. In this case, it is only the outward appearance and form that has been changed; the substance of the paste is precisely the same as that of the original fruit. Hence, one recites the same Beracha over the paste as he would before eating the date in its original form.
The Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 202:7) codifies this ruling of the Rambam, whereas the Rama (Rabbi Moshe Isserles, Poland, 1520-1572), in his glosses to the Shulhan Aruch, disagrees. In the Rama's view, once a fruit has undergone a physical change to the point where it no longer bears any resemblance to its original appearance, it requires the Beracha of "She'hakol." The Ben Ish Hai (Rabbi Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909), both in his Rav Pe'alim (vol. 2, Orah Haim 28) and in his Ben Ish Hai (Parashat Pinhas, 12), follows the position of the Rama, as does Rabbi Yaakov Sofer (1870-1939), in his Kaf Ha'haim (202:57). Hacham Ovadia Yosef, however, in his work Yabia Omer (vol. 7, Orah Haim 29, and vol. 9, 21), adopts the ruling of the Shulhan Aruch. According to his view, then, a crushed fruit or vegetable requires the same Beracha as one would recite over the original fruit or vegetable, even though its form has completely changed. Hacham Ovadia writes that so long as the food has not been turned into a liquid, and the transformation has not adversely affected the food's taste, the Beracha remains the same.
Accordingly, one who eats mashed potatoes must recite "Bore Peri Ha'adama" just as he would over whole potatoes. Likewise, one who makes applesauce from apples would recite the Beracha of "Bore Peri Ha'etz." This would apply as well to homemade jam. (The jam purchased in stores very often is made with artificial flavoring, and not from actual fruit, in which case one would certainly recite "She'hakol." Therefore, one who buys jam in a store and eats it plain must ascertain whether or not it was produced from actual fruit, as this will determine which Beracha he must recite.) By the same token, one who eats mashed avocado would recite the Beracha of "Bore Peri Ha'etz," even though it has been made into a paste. Humus, which is made by mashing chickpeas, would similarly require the Beracha of "Bore Peri Ha'adama" (if one eats it plain). Tehina, however, is considered a liquid, and thus one who eats Tehina plain recites the Beracha of "She'hakol."
Summary: One who eats a mashed fruit or vegetable recites the same Beracha as he would over the original food, provided that it has not become a liquid and that its taste is at least the same quality as that of the original food. Thus, one who eats plain Humus or mashed potatoes recites "Bore Peri Ha'adama," and one who eats mashed avocado, applesauce or homemade jam recites "Bore Peri Ha'etz."