We are rarely interested in tomato leaves, unlike the tomatoes themselves. And yet, the leaf of this fruit-vegetable contains several gardening secrets, but also a number of health benefits. Be careful though, despite their harmless appearance, sometimes they can be toxic. Deavita.fr’s knowledgeable gardeners will therefore show you how to enjoy it without risk, both in the garden and in the kitchen. Focus!
Tomato leaves are poisonous: Myth or reality?
You’ve probably heard that the leaves of your favorite fruit-vegetable are poisonous. But is this really the case? Yes and no. Certainly, it is true that they contain toxic alkaloids, such as tomatine and solanine. However, these are not so toxic to poison you. To do the math, you need to ingest about half a kilo of leaves to make you sick. But truth be told, the unpleasant smell of cooked leaves is enough to discourage even the most passionate cooks. Moreover, the chefs of Deavita.fr recommend adding a little to tomato soup to enhance its taste.
What are the benefits of tomato leaves?
Like most toxins, tomatine and solanine can be good for your health, provided you take the right dose. In a recent US study, our team has just discovered that tomato leaves do indeed have antibiotic, antifungal and even anticarcinogenic properties. However, there is still a lot of research to be done before treating yourself to a green salad made from tomato leaves.
the tomato manure is an excellent alternative to chemical fertilizers and insecticides in the fight against certain garden pests. It therefore acts as a natural repellent against aphids, imported cabbageworm, flea beetle, leek moth and carrot flies. To prepare it yourself, nothing could be easier. Choose very green and healthy leaves, chop them finely and let them macerate for 4-5 days in a bucket filled with water. Remember to stir occasionally. At the end of this time, bubbles should appear on the surface of the mixture. When they disappear, your tomato manure is ready. How to use it ? Spray it directly on the diseased parts of your plants. However, avoid the feet. Keep the preparation cool.
Are they edible? And who can eat them?
In the garden and vegetable patch, tomato leaves have the potential to fight aphids naturally. However, what is toxic to insects is not always toxic to humans. So, are they edible? Yes and no ! For most people, there is no risk in consuming it. However, it should not be abused. So we consume in moderation. How do you know if you fall into the category of the lucky ones who can enjoy it risk-free? Well, if you generally have trouble digesting tomatoes, neither tomatoes nor their leaves are for you, as you probably cannot tolerate the alkaloids present in them.
“Why are my tomato leaves curling up and curling up? »
Are your tomato leaves drying out and curling up? What are the most common tomato diseases? With the heat wave that hit the country this summer, the drying out of tomato leaves was not a rare phenomenon. On the other hand, it was completely normal. The explanation? The leaves of the plants curl up to shelter from the scorching sun and thus fight against the evaporation of water. To remedy this, simply water a little more copiously, without drowning the roots. Mulching is also a very good solution to conserve humidity.
Why remove tomato leaves? And when ?
To prevent the appearance of diseases and prolong the harvest of your tomatoes at the end of the season, leaf stripping is an essential step. So, whatever the stage of development of your tomatoes, remove the lowest leaves of the plant using a pruner that has been disinfected beforehand. Pay particular attention to those that are in direct contact with the ground. They retain moisture during watering and can thus lead to the appearance of fungal diseases which will quickly spread to the fruits. You can strip the leaves at the beginning, a few weeks after planting, or at the very end of the season to boost the development of the plants. Be careful though: please do not remove too much so as not to weaken them. Cut the leaves around the bunches so that the tomatoes benefit from maximum heat.
Can we compost them?
Once the stripping is done, only one question arises: What to do with the leaves? A few options are available to you: bury, compose or throw away? If your tomatoes are not sick, put their leaves in the compost. If the compost is made under normal conditions, we generally put everything that decomposes into it. The temperature of the compost heap destroys all vermin. Some gardeners, however, recommend not composting diseased leaves, as the diseases can survive composting and then return to infest your plants next summer. The safe bet? Take your waste to the nearest recycling center.
Our recipe ideas based on tomato leaves
Tomato leaf pesto
Homemade tomato sauce with tomato and mint leaves
Fresh pasta flavored with tomato leaves