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Halachot of Berachot  

Q38) What is the Bracha on guacamole?

A38) Description: Guacamole is a dip made out of mashed avocado, minced onion, and some add a little tomato besides other spices but the majority is avocado.

Eaten as a condiment

  1. First of all, whenever a condiment is used as a spread to enhance another food (such as a cracker) the other food exempts it (from a Bracha) according to the law of Ikar VeTafel (see that topic). Therefore most of the time guacamole is usually exempted and requires no Bracha.
  2. However, when it is eaten alone there is a question as to the Bracha.

Background

  1. The Shulchan Aruch 202:3 rules like the Rambam who says that even if a fruit or vegetable is totally ground up to the point that it is not recognizable the Bracha is still the same as the original fruit or vegetable. [This is explained by Mishna Brurah 202:41.] However, the Rama (ibid.) argues that it is preferable to make a Shehakol on certain jams. The Mishna Brurah 202:42 concludes that the halacha follows the Shulchan Aruch as long as the vegetable did not loose its form totally and is unrecognizable. [See altering fruits and vegetables]
  2. Sephardim seem to accept Shulchan Aruch at face value and hold that even if a vegetable is totally blended and pureed the Bracha remains the same as the vegetable. This is the ruling of Rav Ovadyah Yosef in Sh”t Yabea Omer 7:29 (see there at length) concerning many examples including pureed mashed potatoes. This is referenced in Yalkut Yosef (Brachot pg 731 and Kitzur S”A 202:25). For example, the Yalkut Yosef (Klalei Sefer Brachot pg 208-214) rules Chummus and mashed potatoes are HaAdama.
  3. Ashkenazim in general hold like Mishna Brurah and thus, the main criterion is recognizably. For example, Vezot HaBracha (chap 12, pg 99) writes that totally blended vegetables to the point that it is unrecognizable the Bracha is Shehakol for example Chummus and apple sauce (totally blended) are Shehakol. However, if the vegetable is not totally blended the Bracha is the same as the vegetable. One of the examples brought is mashed potatoes which he says is HaAdama and explains (pg 251) that since the texture and color is the same as the vegetable the Bracha is the HaAdama. Halachos of Brachos (pg 406) quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman, Rav Sheinburg, and Rav Elyashiv who agree about mashed potatoes.

Explicit rulings on this issue

  1. An actual avocado is (unanimously) HaEtz. (Laws of Brachos (Rabbi Forst, pg 359), Birkat Eliyahu (pg 37), Halachos of Brochos (Rabbi Bodner pg 396, chapter 22))
  2. Piskei Teshuvot (Siman 202 note 87, pg 691) writes that guacamole is Shehakol since it is mixed in with other ingredients such as onions. In Siman 202:20 he writes that potato kugel or laktakas are Shehakol since eggs and other ingredients are mixed in. [Personally, I am unsure the source of such a distinction.]
  3. The Shaarei HaBracha (chap 23, pg 630) writes that if guacamole is blended and liquidy the Bracha is Shehakol, however, if it is still has pieces of avocado it is HaEtz. In the footnote (#470) he writes that even if it is liquidy theoretically it should be HaEtz (since avocado is usually blended, see Mishna Brurah 202:44) but concludes that he can not rule definitively that it should be HaEtz and remains with his above ruling to say Shehakol (because it is like a drink).
  4. The Peni HaShulchan 202:7(1) (pg 83) writes that guacamole is HaEtz because the texture of the avocado is recognizable unless it is blended and is so thin like a liquid in which case it would be Shehakol.

Conclusion

  1. For regular thick guacamole the Bracha is either HaEtz or Shehakol. However, in the unusual case that the guacamole is very thin like a liquid the Bracha should be Shehakol. [This is not a Pesak Halacha.]

 

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