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Are single dried herbs assumed to be kosher without a hechsher?

Quoted from the ou website regarding checking for bugs: https://oukosher.org/blog/consumer-kosher/summary-ou-insect-checking-policies/
"Fruits, vegetables, and berries that are thoroughly dried in a hot oven do not require checking and are permitted"

This does not list herbs explicitly. Can this rule also be applied to herbs? Why or why not?

Are there additional concerns regarding herbs not apparent to fruits, vegetables, and berries?

notes based on comments: -store bought -question regarding general koshrus concern as well as specifically in regards to checking for bugs

  • Do you mean those small sprigs of like sage that are packaged in the store, or buying, say, sun-dried sage from the farmer's market (usually, these come straight off the tree.) I also don't follow if you are questioning the general kashrut problem that might occur in the processing / drying vs. just checking for bugs. If you can, edit to provide a link to the OU page. – DanF Jul 18 '17 at 14:32
  • Perhaps this is strictly semantics, but doesn't the term "vegetables" apply to anything growing from the ground (other than fungi)? That's my understanding, so I think that would include all herbs. Personally, I consider basil a vegetable while most call it a herb. – DanF Jul 18 '17 at 16:40
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From the Star K simple dry herbal teas do no need supervision. Presumably this does not only apply to tea.

Herbal and Medicinal Teas: Popular herbal teas include Chamomile and Mint Teas. Echinachia tea is a well known medicinal. Generally made from dried herbs, leaves, and roots, they are intrinsically kosher and do not need to be certified. Herbs are typically dried on dedicated equipment in dedicated processing facilities, by having warm air blown over them.

The above is true for herbals and medicinals that are simply dried herbs. However, if additional ingredients such as flavors have been added, they would need to be reliably certified. One of the most popular brands of teas, “Celestial Seasonings,” has many herbals and regular teas that have been certified by the Star-K since the mid-1980s.

And from Scroll K

Herb blends – Require reliable certification.

Herbs, dried – Leaves, seeds and spices, without added ingredients, does not require certification, unless it is produce of Israel, then it require reliable certification.

Herbs, freeze dried – Require reliable kosher certification.

  • Why would freeze dried versus oven dried herbs have more of a koshrus concern? – Laser123 Jul 18 '17 at 18:28
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I think you have answered your question already by citing the OU article. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetable. To me, this seems to define herbs within the vegetable family.

Since the OU article you cited says that vegetables "do not require checking", this would apply to dried herbs as well.

This OU page (Hmm.. OU has a lot of good food pages!) seems to classify herbs and vegetables alike. You'll see several items which are commonly considered "herbs" to have the bracha borei pri hadamah just as any other vegetables. For example, dried and candied ginger (ginger is commonly considered an herb) gets the bracha adamah. As for something like chives being shehakol, that's probably because it falls under a different rule stating that when you eat a vegetable in its raw state when it is commonly cooked, you would say sehakol. See the same issue regarding raw garlic.

I'm uncertain what they mean by "spices" as to why this gets Shehakol. I'd have to contact the OU for clarification on this as "spices" is a vague term.

  • this link did not work for me. do you know that in halacha we consider herbs and vegetables to be the same and how? – Laser123 Jul 18 '17 at 17:20
  • @Laser123 I'll see if I can do some research. Offhand, it seems that they are the same as they have the same bracha. They are considered pri ha'adamah. I updated the Wiki link, so it should work, now. – DanF Jul 18 '17 at 17:38
  • the reason I ask to clarify is this example: While grapes for example grow on a vine the bracha is ha'etz b/c in halacha the base that the vines grow out of are considered trees since they will last for longer than 3 years – Laser123 Jul 18 '17 at 17:41
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    I've edited in the halachic aspect. It seems that vegetables and herbs are halachicaly the same. Grapes and some species of blueberries have different rules regarding what classifies them as being a "tree". The reverse situation is what makes bananas adamah - very different rules from herbs. I encourage you to ask a separate question regarding grapes (it may already have been asked.) – DanF Jul 18 '17 at 17:48

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