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The Beracha on Crushed Fruits or Grains – Cornflakes, Apple Sauce, Mashed Potatoes, Amardeen, Peanut Butter, Falafel Balls, Popcorn, Humus and Tehina

The Shulhan Aruch establishes a fundamental rule concerning the Beracha to be recited on products made from fruit: if a fruit is crushed into a paste, then it still retains its status with regard to Berachot. The case under discussion is dates which were mashed into a paste and eaten in that paste form. The Shulhan Aruch ruled that as long as the fruit was not pureed into a liquid, the product is still considered the original fruit, and the Beracha over this product is "Boreh Peri Ha’etz."

This Halacha has numerous practical applications for common food products.

Kellogg’s cornflakes, for example, is produced by mashing corn, and, as such, the Beracha over Kellogg’s cornflakes is the same as the Beracha over ordinary corn – "Boreh Peri Ha’adama." Some other companies produce cornflakes by first grinding corn into a flour, in which case the product loses its status as corn, and the Beracha is therefore "She’ha’kol."

Another example is jelly produced from real fruit (as opposed to jelly produced from artificial ingredients). The jelly is, essentially, fruit which has been mashed, and so the Beracha over such a product is "Boreh Peri Ha’etz." (It must be emphasized that this applies only if the jelly is made from real fruit, and not from artificial ingredients.) This applies as well to apple sauce, which is, essentially, crushed apple. Likewise, the Beracha over mashed potatoes would be "Boreh Peri Ha’adama," just like over ordinary potatoes. Although Hacham Bension Abba Shaul (Israel, 1924-1998) maintained that one recites "She’ha’kol" over mashed potatoes, Hacham Ovadia Yosef and most other Poskim ruled that for Sepharadim, the proper Beracha to recite is "Boreh Peri Ha’adama."

This applies also to peanut butter, which is simply mashed peanuts, such that one who eats peanut butter by itself recites "Ha’adama."

By the same token, one who eats humus by itself recites "Boreh Peri Ha’adama," because humus is simply crushed chickpeas. Falafel balls, however, which are also made from mashed chickpeas, mark an exception to this rule. Hacham Ovadia ruled that since additional ingredients are added to the mashed chickpeas to produce the falafel ball, and it does not taste or look like chickpeas, the final product does not have the status of the original chickpeas, and thus the Beracha is "She’ha’kol." Hacham Ovadia originally ruled that one recites "Ha’adama" over falafel balls, but he later retracted this ruling and determined that the proper Beracha is "She’ha’kol."

Another exception to this rule is amardeen – a product made by pounding apricots into a leather. This product appears to be no different than mashed dates, such that the Beracha should be "Ha’etz," and this is, indeed, the view of the Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909). However, Rav Yosef Yedid Halevi (Aleppo-Jerusalem, 1867-1930), in his work Birkat Yosef, maintained that since amardeen is given a different name, and it does not look like apricots at all, it is considered a different food, and its Beracha is "She’ha’kol." This is the view accepted by Hacham Ovadia Yosef.

Popcorn is corn which was heated, and so the Beracha is "Ha’adama," especially since popcorn is made from a special kernel grown for this purpose.

A popular Israeli snack called "bamba" is made from puffed corn covered with peanut butter. Hacham Ovadia ruled that for Sepharadim, the proper Beracha over bamba is "Ha’adama."

Tehina is made by grinding sesame seeds, however, as Hacham Ovadia noted, it is more of a liquid than a solid, and therefore, it loses its status as sesame, and the appropriate Beracha is "She’hakol."

Summary: As a rule, mashed fruits or grains retain their original status vis-à-vis the Beracha requirement. Therefore, the Beracha over apple sauce or jelly made from real fruit is "Ha’etz," and the Beracha over mashed potatoes, humus, peanut butter, "bamba" and Kellogg’s cornflakes (which, unlike some other brands of cornflakes, is made by mashing corn, and not from corn flour) is "Ha’adama." Exceptions to this rule include armadeen, falafel balls and tehina, over which one recites "She’ha’kol." Popcorn is considered regular corn, and thus requires the Beracha of "Ha’adama."

 


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