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What Brochah or Blessing is said when eating plain Peanut butter? Does the chunky variety (with pieces) versus regular make a difference?

I am referring to a case where it is eaten on a spoon, with no other additional items. Also, assume I had not washed for a meal at an earlier time.

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3 Answers 3

There is a list in the back of the English translation of the Baal Hatanya's Seder Bircas Hanehenin/Seder N'tilas Yodoyim L'S'Uda (translated by Shimon D. Cowen).

On page 168, it says that smooth is Shehakol and chunky is Ha'adama. He then continues "However, there is a type in which the majority is smooth with pieces, the b'rocho is than as the majority, Shehakol."

The sources he uses for this are Baal Hatanya's Seder Bircas Hanehenin (7:24 for smooth, and 7:22 for crunchy).

There are however, two things to clarify before deciding which Beracha to make:

  1. See this article that describes the process for making peanut butter. In it, it describes two ways of making chunky peanut butter:

    "To make chunky peanut butter, peanut pieces approximately the size of one-eighth of a kernel are mixed with regular peanut butter, or incomplete grinding is used by removing a rib from the grinder."

    According to this, it would appear that if the brand makes chunky peanut butter "by removing a rib from the grinder", the chunky peanut butter would be Ha'adama.

    However, there may be many companies whose crunchy peanut butter is smooth peanut butter with pieces mixed in. See for example, Skippy's website, where they explicitly say "Skippy Super Chunk has loads of real peanut pieces blended into every jar of great tasting peanut butter".

    If so, it would appear that there could be many chunky peanut butters made with that process and would therefore be Shehakol.

  2. Also, if you read the sources, the Baal Hatanya is saying that the reason why we say Shehakol is because there is an argument between the Magen Avraham and the Taz about whether completely changing the form of a food would make it Shehakol. The Magen Avraham says yes, unless the food is grown for that purpose. The Taz says it retains the original beracha unless the changed form can be elevated (e.g. grain is Ha'adama. Grind it up and it becomes Shehakol, because it could be used to make bread). The Baal Hatanya concludes that we should say Shehakol to fulfill our obligation according to everyone (But if you said Ha'adama you fulfilled you obligation Bedieved).

    That being the case, it's possible that these days most peanuts are grown for peanut butter, and if so, maybe everyone would agree that even smooth peanut butter would be Ha'adama, even though it is completely pureed.

    (As discussed here, it appears that R' Bodner discusses this on page 410 in his book, "Halachos of brochos" [based on the tail end of a footnote on page 411]. However, that page is missing from the Google Books version, so I can't look up exactly what it says. If someone has a copy of the book, can they look it up and tell us what it says?)

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"Mezonot"?! I think you meant Shehakol –  yydl Sep 23 '11 at 0:43
    
@yydl: yup, thanks, I fixed it. –  Menachem Sep 23 '11 at 0:54

See here which quotes Laws of B'rachos that the proper bracha on both chunky and creamy varieties of peanut butter are Hoadama / Borei Nefashos.

However, it appears it is actually a machlokes. I see here quote both Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and Rav Elyashiv that it's Shehakol.

I have also seen some lists online that seem to imply there is a difference between chunky and creamy, but I have not been able to identify a source for this.

As always, CYLOR before making a practical decision.

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berachot.org/halacha/19_changing.html#peanuts -- According to Rav Bodner, Peanuts do not have their own unique texture and therefore plain smooth peanut butter would be shehakol. However, there are poskim that argue and contend that even smooth Peanut Butter is Ha'adoma. –  Menachem Sep 23 '11 at 0:31
    
@Menachem Are you trying to bring a source for a difference between chunky and creamy, or am I misunderstanding you? –  yydl Sep 23 '11 at 0:32
    
yes. You said you have not been able to find a source for the difference, berachot.org's list does say smoothy is shehakol and links to that. -- berachot.org/foods/letter_p.htm –  Menachem Sep 23 '11 at 0:41
    
@Menachem I did say I found lists online, but no source. I wouldn't call a website a source unless it listed some sort of backing (Rabbi, Sefer, or the like...) –  yydl Sep 23 '11 at 0:44
    
and he quotes Rav Bodner. In the "About Us" section he says, "I primarily use the fantastic sefer, "V’Zot Haberacha" and additionally Rav Bodner’s Sefer "Halachos of Brochos" for the halacha section." -- link to the sefer: feldheim.com/authors/bodner-rabbi-yisroel-pinchos/… –  Menachem Sep 23 '11 at 0:49

According to this site, the halacha is:

  • Chunky Peanut Butter---Ha'adamah---Boray Nefashot
  • Creamy Peanut Butter---Shehakol---Boray Nefashot

However, here it says that some hold that creamy peanut butter is also Ha'adamah.

As usual, CYLOR for practical halacha.

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