Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Important information about Israeli Produce

This post is a follow up to the Kashrut for New Olim post. If you haven't seen it yet, please check it out!

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES in Israel



Unlike in other parts of the world, in Israel fruits and vegetables are NOT automatically "kosher" - here we need to make sure that they are not "orlah" fruits (harvested during a tree's first 3 yrs) and that trumot and ma'asrot have been taken (from both fruits and vegetables). 

If you shop at a market that doesn't have an ishur kashrut (kosher certification) on their produce, you'll need to investigate these issues further, if you are interested in adhering to the halachot of the Land of Israel OR if you regularly host people who assume the food in your home is kosher! I must say that it's important to familarize yourself with these special halachot, as they are part of keeping kosher in Israel! (If you say you keep Kosher in Israel, everyone assumes that you have taken care of these issues; and if you don't, then you may be unwittingly putting someone in a situation they don't want to be in!) 

It's definitely possible to take trumot and maasrot on your own (I do it often), so vegetables are easiest to buy without a teudah, as that is all you need to do (and very often, it would be without a bracha). Some of the fruits on the market may be ok to purchase even from a non-certified establishment and just take trumot and maasrot, because of the extremely low percentage of orlah fruits being sold, but those lists change frequently, so you'll constantly need to stay up-to-date. There's a phone number to call for the new orlah list every month - 02-648-8888, ext. 3.

Other fruits can be a problem, because of a high possibility that they are orlah (from the first 3 yrs after the tree was planted). I am going to try to post a monthly update here, with a list of the fruits where the percentage of orlah fruits on the open market is greater than 0.5%, so should only be bought from a reputable source that does not sell orlah fruits (i.e. a place with a teudah):

Update for Tamuz 5777

Fruits to AVOID buying without a teudah:

Reid Avocado
White Nectarine
Lemon
Papaya
Prickly Pear (Sabra Fruit)
Starfruit
Passionfruit
Seedless Grapes (Green)
Blueberries

Please be sure to speak with your personal Halachic Authority about purchasing fruit in Israel without a teudah. Not everyone holds by the 0.5% threshold. This information is just for informational purposes and is not a halachic psak! Even if you follow a psak that relies on the 0.5% threshold, you still must take trumot and maasrot on all produce grown in Israel (or be sure it has been taken), in order to fulfill your halachic obligations.

Also, this list does not apply to fruit grown by an individual. If your friend has a fruit tree, you'll need to find out how old it is!

3 comments:

  1. Where are you seeing blueberries I would like to know

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't seen them yet this year, but they are being grown in the Golan and other areas now. Expect to see more than ever before!

      Delete

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