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Reciting a Beracha Over a Cooked Fruit or Vegetable

The Shulhan Aruch (Orah Haim 202:12) addresses the question of whether the Beracha one should recite on a fruit or vegetable depends on whether the food was eaten raw or cooked. He establishes the basic rule that if a fruit or vegetable is commonly eaten both raw and cooked – such as apples – then the Beracha remains the same regardless of how one eats the food. Whether one eats such a food raw or cooked, he recites "Bore Peri Ha'etz" (in the case of a fruit) or "Bore Peri Ha'adama" (in the case of a vegetable). Thus, one who eats an apple recites "Bore Peri Ha'etz" whether he eats it raw or cooked. Likewise, raw and cooked tomatoes are deemed equally edible, and thus one who eats a tomato in either state recites the Beracha of "Bore Peri Ha'dama," as Hacham Ovadia Yosef rules in his work Hazon Ovadia (Laws of Berachot, p. 143).

If, however, a fruit or vegetable is generally eaten only cooked or only raw – such as potatoes and eggplant, which are generally eaten only after they are cooked – then one who eats it in the deviant manner recites the Beracha of "She'hakol." Thus, for example, a person who eats a raw potato will recite "She'hakol," whereas one who eats a baked or boiled potato recites the Beracha of "Bore Peri Ha'adama."

The Halachic authorities address the question of which Beracha one recites over a food that normally loses its flavor when cooked unless it is cooked with other foods. A cucumber, for example, is generally eaten raw, as cooking is detrimental to its flavor. Some people, however, cook or fry cucumbers with meat and other foods, and the cucumbers become flavorful as a result of the foods with which they are cooked. Which Beracha should a person recite over the cucumbers in such a case?

The Ben Ish Hai (Rabbi Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909), in Parashat Pinhas (7), rules that in this case one must recite "She'hakol" over the cucumbers. Since the cucumbers have lost their intrinsic flavor, and are tasty only as a result of the accompanying foods, they are "downgraded," so-to-speak, to the generic Beracha of "She'hakol." Hacham Ovadia Yosef, however, in his work Halichot Olam (vol. 2, p. 97), disagrees. In his view, since the cucumbers are currently flavorful, they warrant the recitation of "Bore Peri Ha'adama" despite the fact that their flavor is the result of their exposure to other foods.

This case commonly arises in restaurants that serve cooked or steamed vegetables. These dishes often contain vegetables that one would normally eat only raw, but become flavorful when they are cooked with the other vegetables. According to Hacham Ovadia Yosef, one who eats such vegetables recites "Bore Peri Ha'adama" despite the fact that they are normally eaten only in their raw state.

Summary: A fruit or vegetable that is commonly eaten both raw and cooked requires the Beracha of "Ha'etz" (for fruits) or "Ha'adama" (for vegetables) regardless of whether it is raw or cooked. If a fruit or vegetable is commonly eaten only raw or only cooked, then one who eats it in the unusual manner recites "She'hakol." If a vegetable is commonly eaten only raw, and is eaten cooked only when it is prepared with other foods, such as meat, then one recites "Ha'adama" even when it is cooked, provided that it has a favorable taste.


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