Ever want to nosh on something and are unsure of which berachah (blessing) to say? There is a method for understanding which one to say...
Here are some guidelines for you to follow:
1) Know where your food has come from (a tree, the ground, it is a grain-based food, is it bread).
2) The following blessings are said when these types of foods are eaten:
Ha-motzi: When eating bread, or bread with a meal:
Baruch Atah Hashem, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, ha-motzi lechem min ha-aretz.
Blessed are You, L-rd Our G-d, Who brings forth bread from the earth.
Ha-gefen: When drinking wine or wine with a meal:
Baruch Atah Hashem, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, boray p'ri ha-gafen.
Blessed are You, L-rd Our G-d, Who creates the fruit of the vine.
Mezonot: When eating food that has wheat, barley, oat, spelt or rye (and the amount of grain does not dominate over the other ingredient) and eating not more than the volume of 3 or 4 eggs worth:
Baruch Atah Hashem, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, boray minay mezonot.
Blessed are You, L-rd Our G-d, Who creates different kinds of nourishment.
Shehakol: Can be applied to any food, very general, and foods that have been processed (soda, milk, fruit rolls, etc..)
Baruch Atah Hashem, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, she'he'kol nih'yay bidvaro.
Blessed are You, L-rd Our G-d, through Whose word everything comes into being.
Ha-etz: When eating ripe fruit, when eating the principal part of the fruit, or eating the fruit the way it is regularly eaten:
Baruch Atah Hashem, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, boray p'ri ha-etz.
Blessed are You, L-rd Our G-d, Who creates the fruit of the tree.
Ha-adamah: When eating the fruit or vegetable is recognizable (you can determine its identity), when eating a vegetable the way it is supposed to be eaten:
Baruch Atah Hashem, Eloheinu Melech HaOlam, boray p'ri ha-adamah.
Blessed are You, L-rd Our G-d, Who creates the fruit of the ground.
3) When a dish contains more than one food (for example rice pudding contains raisins, rice, milk and other ingredients), the blessing said is over the essential part or predominant ingredient of the dish. In this case, it is the rice - therefore the Mezonot blessing would be said.
4) When eating a meal with bread, no other blessing besides Hamotzi need be said except:
-if you have cake or fruit after the meal separately
-drink tea or coffee after the meal
-have wine with the meal
In these cases, you recite the appropriate blessing for each food.
5) Blessings need not be said when taking medicine with water. However, if you are using another beverage, the appropriate blessing should be said.
6) There are times when it is appropriate to say the Hamotzi blessing and other times when the Mezonot blessing should be said:
-if you are going to eat more than the volume of 3 or 4 eggs worth of a grain food, then you should say the Hamotzi blessing, say the Netilat Yadim blessing and do ritual handwashing, and say Birchat HaMazon after eating
-if you eat less than the volume of 3 or 4 eggs, recite the Mezonot blessing and no handwashing is required
This Bissel was compiled using The Guide to Blessings: The Brochos for Various Foods by NCSY/Orthodox Union - compiled by Rabbi Naftali Hoffner. For more detailed descriptions of food and appropriate blessings, as well as additional halachic notes, please refer to this. This small booklet is inexpensive but a necessary element for any table in the home.