Monday, February 21, 2011

Tomatillo (Physalis Ixocarpa)

If you are thinking about your summer garden you may want to get some tomatillo seeds.  Tomatillos are Mexican and were a staple part of the diet for Aztec and Mayan peoples.  They are not tomatoes but members of the genus Physalis, a group of plants whose fruits grow in paper-like husks. They are related to the ground cherry as well as those ornamental Chinese Lanterns that are inedible.

Tomatillo tastes like green tomatoes with a citrus bite. Quite hardy and worth growing as they now reseed themselves throughout my northern garden.  In Mexico they grow wild.  Get yourself some seeds. You won't regret it. 

USES: I eat them fresh by slicing and adding to garden salads.  I also use them in fresh garden salsa and they go well in guacamole along with the avocado.  A green salsa made with tomatillos is usually called salsa verde and there are lots of recipes online. 

Any extra I remove the husks and freeze.  To prepare tomatillos, use your fingers to remove the papery husk and rinse under water to remove the sticky sap that clings to the skin.  I don't blanch them, just rinse and freeze in zip lock bags. 

NUTRITION FACTS: Tomatillos are a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.  They are high in beta-carotene and the antioxidant lutein.

Young tomatillo plant below in my 2010 garden. I have read that you need at least two plants growing close by as they pollinate each other.

1 comment:

john Giese said...

Thank you. I found your article interesting and informative. I have been given a number of seeds and am keen to harvest my own crop in the not too distant future! Pleased to read of all the healthy "Contents" of the fruit.
Btw: I am in South Africa.