In the previous class we learned about the brachot Ha'aitz, Ha'adama, and Shehakol. In today's lesson we'll discuss situations when altering the state of a food affects a change in its bracha.

As we learned earlier, the brachot for fruits and vegetables are "borei pri ha'aitz" and "borei pri ha'adama," respectively. These brachot are appropriate when eating a fruit or vegetable in the way that it is normally eaten. If, however, you eat a fruit or vegetable in an unusual state, you say instead Shehakol.

What is considered an "unusual state"?

Cooked Salad

The rule is that produce that is normally eaten raw receives a "borei pri..." bracha only when eaten raw. However, if you go ahead and cook such a fruit or vegetable, the bracha becomes Shehakol.1 Cucumbers, for example, are a vegetable that most people eat raw. So the bracha on a cooked cucumber is Shehakol. The reason for this is that cooking a cucumber lowers the quality of the food, disqualifying it from the bracha "borei pri ha'adama." The same would apply to cooked watermelon (yuck!).

Similarly, on any food that is slightly spoiled or rotten, the bracha is Shehakol.2 (If it's totally spoiled, since it is not fit to eat, no bracha is recited.)3

If cooking a fruit or vegetable does not lower its quality, then the bracha remains Ha'aitz or Ha'adama, even though it is usually eaten raw.4 For example, a delicious dish made of cucumbers cooked in a sweet and sour sauce would get the bracha Ha'adama.

What about fruits or vegetables that are eaten both raw and cooked? They receive a "borei pri..." bracha in either state. The bracha on tomatoes, broccoli or carrots, for example, is Ha'adama, whether eaten raw or cooked.5 So too, both raw and cooked apples get Ha'aitz.

Raw Onions

Just as produce that is normally eaten raw loses its "borei pri" bracha when cooked, the same is true in the reverse. Any fruit or vegetable that is usually eaten cooked receives a "borei pri..." bracha only when it is cooked. If eaten raw, its bracha is Shehakol.6

The reason for this is because the halacha recognizes a fruit or vegetable as a "pri" only once it has reached its optimal edible state. If most people wouldn't eat a particular fruit until it's cooked, then it hasn't yet reached its optimal state as long as it's raw. Therefore, it is not appropriate to say "borei pri" on such a fruit.

Accordingly, if you want to eat a raw onion (like one would eat an apple) you should say Shehakol. Since most people cook (or fry) onions before eating them, a raw onion does not have the status of a "pri."7

This rule applies to any situation where the fruit or vegetable is in a state where most people would not eat it, such as a whole lemon or raw corn.8

Similarly, on a vegetable that is not fully grown (but is fit to eat) you should say Shehakol,9 since it is not yet considered a "pri." A fruit that has not yet developed, however, gets the bracha Ha'adama.10 In other words, both an underdeveloped vegetable and an underdeveloped fruit have their bracha "reduced one level." Even if the undeveloped fruit or vegetable is improved by cooking or roasting, the bracha remains Shehakol for a vegetable, and Ha'adama for a fruit.11

Local Practice

Whether a particular fruit or vegetable is "normally" eaten raw or cooked is determined by the local practice.12 If a specific vegetable is eaten only raw in one country, and in another country they only eat that vegetable cooked, then the bracha will change in accordance.

"In Europe," Michael's grandfather recalled, "we always cooked carrots before eating them. On the rare occasion that I would eat a raw carrot, I said Shehakol. When I came to America, however, I noticed that everyone eats raw carrots. So I began to say Ha'adama when eating raw carrots."

If you are merely visiting a foreign country, you should say brachot in accordance with the practice of your homeland, not the local custom. If, however, you move to a new location, then you become subject to the local practice.13

Changing the Form of Produce

Fruits and vegetables that have been processed can lose their "borei pri..." bracha. If a fruit or vegetable is crushed, ground, mashed, or otherwise manipulated in a way that it is no longer recognizable (i.e. to the point where no solid pieces remain), then its bracha becomes Shehakol. If, however, the fruit remains intact or is still recognizable, it maintains its original bracha.14

So if you take fresh fruits and put them in the blender, the bracha will depend on how finely you blend them. If small chunks of fruit remain, then the bracha on this fruit drink is Ha'aitz. If the drink it totally smooth, then the bracha is Shehakol.15

Like mashing, cooking fruits to the point of losing their consistency also causes their bracha to change to Shehakol.16 A good example of this is fruit preserves. If you can detect chunks of fruit – what we call "jam" – you say Ha'aitz (on apricot jam) or Ha'adama (on strawberry jam). But if there are no pieces of fruit inside – what we call "jelly" – you say Shehakol.17

Cheryl's family loves apple sauce, and to please everyone they alternate between the two varieties: On the home-style, they say Ha'aitz, and on the smooth, Shehakol.

Produce that has a distinctive texture remains Ha'aitz/Ha'adama even when it is completely mashed, since it still resembles the original fruit/vegetable. Therefore, the bracha on mashed potatoes or bananas is Ha'adama (though the bracha on mashed, cooked carrots is Shehakol).18 As well, the bracha on smooth-style peanut butter (and all the more so crunchy) is Ha'adama.

Based on this principle, we recite Shehakol on all beverages (except wine, of course), even if they are made from the five grains, such as beer and whiskey.19

Corn Flakes

Another good example of this rule is corn flakes. Corn flakes are manufactured in two different ways. One way is by smashing corn kernels into pieces and baking them. By subjecting these corn kernel to heat and pressure, this does not constitute a significant change in their form (i.e. they are still "intact"),20 and therefore their bracha remains Ha'adama.

A second way to make corn flakes is by grinding corn into flour and then forming flakes from the flour. Corn that is ground into flour does not resemble corn in its form or appearance, and the bracha Ha'adama is no longer appropriate. You should therefore say Shehakol on corn flakes that are produced from corn flour.21 (A full discussion of breakfast cereals appears in class #22 – stay tuned!)

Based on what we've learned, what would say is the bracha on popcorn? The answer is Ha'adama. Although popcorn does not resemble corn, since the kernels are still intact and recognizable as corn the bracha does not change.22


Although produce that is ground into a powder becomes Shehakol, if it returns to a form or texture that is uniquely recognizable as the original, then it returns to a "borei pri..." bracha. Therefore, mashed potatoes23 and potato chips made of reconstituted dehydrated powder – e.g. Pringles24 – receive a Ha'adama, since they are clearly recognizable as potato products.

What about onion soup made from a soup mix? In this case, the halacha would depend:

  • If the soup mix is completely powdered, then the bracha is Shehakol – as the onions have lost their original texture forever.
  • If there are some slivers of onions in the soup mix, then the bracha is Ha'adama – since this "a form or texture that is recognizable as the original."

A Mistake

In this class, we have learned about various instances where the bracha on a fruit or vegetable is "downgraded" to Shehakol. In all of these cases, if a "borei pri..." bracha was recited instead, the bracha is still valid, since technically the food is actually a "pri."25 (As mentioned in class #5, if possible, you should eat another Shehakol item and recite the proper bracha.)26

Danny peeled a whole lemon, said Ha'aitz, and started eating. Then he realized that he should have said Shehakol. Post facto, his bracha was valid.

Jacob opened a bag of corn chips, said Ha'adama, and started to eat. Then he noticed that corn chips are made of corn flour – he should have said Shehakol. Nevertheless, his bracha was valid.

This concludes class #6 on Hilchot brachot. In the next lesson, we'll learn the bracha said on fruit juice.

  1. Orach Chaim 202:12, with Mishnah Berurah 65; Orach Chaim 205:1
  2. Orach Chaim 204:1; see also Mishnah Berurah 202:18
  3. Mishnah Berurah 204:1
  4. Hilchos Brochos, pg. 397 footnote 11
  5. Orach Chaim 202:12
  6. Orach Chaim 202:12
  7. Orach Chaim 205:5
  8. Fresh corn is often infested with insects, and therefore must be checked before eating.
  9. Mishnah Berurah 204:13
  10. Biur Halacha 202:2. If it is hardly edible, there is a dispute whether or not the bracha changes to Shehakol (Mishnah Berurah 202:18).
  11. Biur Halacha 202:2
  12. Sha’ar Hatziyun 205:3
  13. Hilchos Brochos, pg.401, citing Rabbi S.Z. Auerbach
  14. Orach Chaim 202:7, with Mishnah Berurah
  15. The Laws of Brachos (ArtScroll) pg. 304, based on Mishnah Berurah 202:40, 42, 43
  16. Magen Avraham 202:18
  17. Mishnah Berurah 202:42
  18. Mishnah Berurah 202:40
  19. Tosfot (Brachot 38a – s.v. “Hai”)
  20. V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 105
  21. V’Zot HaBracha, pg. 200
  22. Hilchos Brochos, pg. 403, citing Rabbi Moshe Feinstein
  23. Mishnah Berurah 202:40
  24. Hilchos Brochos, pg. 407, citing Rabbi S.Z. Auerbach
  25. Mishnah Berurah 206:3
  26. Shu”t Igros Moshe (OC 4:40:1)