The Flavorful Part Of The Tomato You Should Be Using In Your Sauce

In the culinary world, there's something incredibly satisfying about utilizing every part of an ingredient in the cooking process. While farm-to-table enthusiasts and no-waste cooks tend to practice this, there is plenty of space for home cooks to grow. And if you're a fan of tomatoes, then there is a surprising part of the fruit that you should utilize more: The tomato vines and stalks.

The humble tomato vine, often discarded, can be a game-changing ingredient in homemade tomato sauce. This is because the stems are packed with the essence of the tomato's flavor. This fresh, slightly bitter, and grassy scent comes from several different kinds of trichomes which are commonly found in the essential oils of aromatic plants. 

This compound infuses your tomato sauce with a captivating depth of flavor. When simmered gently with your sauce, these stems impart an earthy, garden-fresh zing, taking your homemade tomato sauce from merely delicious to tasting garden-fresh.

How to incorporate tomato stems into your sauce

Next time you're in the kitchen with a fresh batch of tomatoes, remember the hidden potential in those fragrant vines and stalks. They might just be the secret ingredient you've been looking for. You won't mistake the transformation this simple ingredient can add to your sauce through its incredible depth of fresh flavor.

Begin by thoroughly washing the tomato vines to remove any residue or dirt. Tie the stems together using kitchen string to easily remove them. They are here to add character and seasoning to your sauce, not to stay. Follow your favorite tomato sauce recipe and add the tomato vines and stalks to a large saucepot when you add the tomatoes. Simmer for about an hour, occasionally stirring to make sure everything is well integrated. The heat releases the volatile compounds from the stems, enveloping the sauce with its intense, fresh aroma. After an hour, you can remove the tomato vines. Simply use a pair of tongs to carefully extract them from the sauce. Then blend your sauce until it's smooth, or if you prefer a chunkier sauce, mash the tomatoes with the back of a spoon.