If you are growing your own tomatoes in the garden, you will probably just pick the tomatoes from the plant. What about the leaves of the tomato? Can you eat them too?
Yes, you can eat tomato leaves. Tomato leaves can be eaten raw or cooked, but they do lose some of their flavors when heated up. The leaves are a great source of calcium and vitamin C. You can then sauté these pieces in olive oil until they’re wilted and tender (about three minutes), or add them directly into soups and stews during the last few minutes of cooking time.
In addition to eating the leaves, you can make a spray that repels mosquitoes and other insects by mixing 1 teaspoon of dried crushed tomato leaves with 1 pint (500 ml) of water.
Are Tomato Leaves Safe To Eat?
Tomato leaves are safe to eat, but there are some risks.
Tomato leaves are edible and have a very mild flavor. They can be used as a substitute for spinach or kale.
But there is one issue with eating them: they contain solanine, which is toxic in high doses. Solanine is found in the stems, leaves, and unripe fruit of the tomato plant. It’s also present in potato leaves and eggplants (although not in the fruit).
Solanine poisoning can cause symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. More severe cases may include cramps, weakness, and tingling sensations in the limbs.
The amount of solanine in tomato leaves varies depending on environmental conditions like temperature and light exposure during growth. That makes it difficult to know how much you should eat without getting sick.
To be on the safe side, I recommend you eat tomato leaves in moderation. This will let you enjoy eating the leaves without have any negative effect on your health.
What Do Tomato Leaves Taste Like?
Tomato leaves have a unique taste that can be hard to describe. They’re somewhere between the flavor of green bell peppers and the smell of oregano — but not exactly either. You may want to try eating them before you decide if they’re right for you.
How To Clean Tomato Leaves
The leaves of a tomato plant are usually large enough to be eaten by humans without the need to clean them. However, if you want to prepare them for cooking or eating raw, you should wash them thoroughly first. Use cold water and gently rub the leaves with your hands under running water to remove any dirt or debris from them.
If you are using the leaves for cooking, place them in a large pot of boiling water for about 15 minutes before adding other ingredients for cooking.
How To Eat Tomato Leaves
If you have a tomato plant in your garden or in pots on your balcony, or if you just buy them at the farmers market, you might be wondering what to do with those tomato leaves that are growing alongside your tomatoes. Turns out they have a wide variety of uses!
Here are 4 ways to use tomato leaves:
1. Make tea – The leaves contain antioxidant compounds called saponins that may help lower blood sugar levels and reduce cholesterol levels. To make tea, add 2 tablespoons of dried leaves to a quart of water and boil for 20 minutes. Drink 1 cup three times daily before meals.
2. Use as seasoning – A tablespoon of chopped tomato leaf gives food an added kick without adding calories or sodium like salt would do. It also adds flavor when cooked with other herbs such as basil or parsley in vegetable soups or stews, or added to meatloaf or burgers before cooking them in the oven. You may also want to try using it as a topping for pizza crusts instead of oregano.
3. In salads – You can also add tomato leaves to a variety of different salads. Just cut the leaves off the stem and wash them well before adding them to your salad bowl. You may want to blanch the leaves first before adding them to your salad bowl because they will wilt quickly when added raw to a salad.
4. Sauces – You can also use tomato leaves in place of basil in many Italian dishes such as pasta sauces and pesto sauce recipes. Because it has a similar flavor profile as basil, it is an excellent substitute for basil in most recipes that call for basil but don’t allow substitutions when using fresh herbs basil does not freeze well so growing it at home isn’t always an option.
Tomato leaves are edible and have a similar taste to the fruit. They’re also rich in vitamins A, C, and K as well as folate, iron, and potassium. You can eat them raw or cooked and use them in salads or soups. If you’re eating them raw, be sure to eat only in moderation to avoid any harmful effects on your body due to the toxins that are found in the leaves. If you’re cooking the tomato leaves, the toxin will be eliminated.