Here are six simple ingredients that will enhance the flavor of your favorite savory dishes – to get them out of the ‘so-so’ zone. These ingredients will impart lots of umami flavor, so if you aren’t on the umami bandwagon yet, now’s the time. With lots of tailgate parties and sporting event meals just around the corner, give these a try – six ways to boost the deliciousness of your existing recipes or give new ones the wow factor! Indeed, it’s not necessary to toss out tried-and-true recipes, but by adding even a small amount of these umami-rich ingredients, you will see a very positive change in their savory goodness.
You’re familiar with the saying “You eat with your eyes first,” meaning of course that the good, or bad, visual aspect of food affects its appeal even before it passes our lips and into our mouths. The Chinese have a proverb, “You eat first with your eyes, then your nose, and then with your mouth.” It’s no surprise that our senses of sight and the smell of food impact our perception of flavor. Psychologists are finding that sound, however, also augments or suppresses the taste experience.
World-class chefs use MSG (monosodium glutamate) in their cooking, and perhaps you’re toying with the idea of giving it a try at home. Why should you go for it? Quite simply, because seasoning many foods with MSG makes them taste better!
Tomatoes are loaded with savory goodness, but not all tomatoes taste the same, because the riper the tomato, the tastier it is. Tomatoes left to ripen on the vine are documented to have more umami content than tomatoes that are picked green and then gas-ripened. According to a Chemistry World article “Secret of Tasty Tomatoes Revealed,” tomatoes left to ripen naturally develop more nutrients and so have greater umami content.
Glutamate is an amino acid that is found in virtually every food. It’s a big part of protein-rich foods like meat, eggs and cheese, but is also found in fruits and vegetables. And, it is what’s responsible for giving foods the umami (savory) flavor that makes them taste delicious.
Within food, glutamate is either attached to other amino acids in the form of a protein (bound) or by itself (free). The more free glutamate there is, the more umami flavor the food will have. There are a few variables that impact how much free glutamate is in a food