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Shmita and pumpkin

Question
I like to eat Pumpkin raw. I know this is different than the normal method of preparing pumpkin. Is there a problem during shmita if I continue eating it raw or does it have to be cooked.
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. You are certainly correct that one needs to be concerned with the correct treatment and use of Shmitah produce. One of the laws is that foods that are normally eaten cooked may not be eaten raw (and visa versa) [See Rambam, Laws of Shmitah]. The normal way to eat food is determined by the general population, and not by each individual. This being so, as you point out, eating raw pumpkin is not the normal way of eating pumpkin, and is therefore forbidden with a Shmitah pumpkin. However, most of the pumpkins you will be buying during shmitah will not be holy with the holiness of Shmitah. Only with those pumpkins that are specially grown and distributed as "kedushat shi'ivit" will you need to be careful with (according to the majority of opinions). For information as to where to find such "holy" pumpkins, please contact Otzar HaAretz, http://www.otzarharetz.co.il/ who are an organization that arranges for the sale and distribution of Jewish agricultural produce during the shmitah year. Blessings.
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