Fresh Tip: Use Tomato Leaves to Boost Flavor

Now that the fresh tomatoes are finally coming in, we’re in seventh heaven using them every way we can. Whenever we put tomatoes in a cooked dish, we find that we gain sweet flavors, but lose that the super fresh, bright tomato flavor that we love. Tomato leaves might just be the answer.

In On Food and Cooking, Harold McGee explains that tomato leaves contain certain enzymes and oils that give them a very strong “fresh tomato” aroma. Adding just a few of the leaves to a pot of pasta sauce or a batch of soup in the last few minutes of cooking boosts the fresh flavors and aromas back up, similar to adding basil. (And no, McGee also explains that tomato leaves aren’t toxic.)

We’re not growing our own tomatoes this year, so we’ll have to nab some from a neighbor’s garden next time we have a chance.

Have any of you tried this flavor boosting trick?

Related: Tip from Gourmet: Crush Tomatoes with a Box Grater

(Image: Flickr member GenBug licensed under Creative Commons)