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~ Don't Confuse the Tomatillo with the Green Tomato ~

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c915eb80970bTomatillo, also called tomato verde, means husk tomato, with verde meaning green in Spanish. The tomatillo is a member of the nightshade family, which, while related to the red tomato family, and remarkably similar in appearance to the green tomato, cannot be used interchangeably with green tomatoes.  Tomatillos are a staple in every Tex-Mex gardener's garden.  The fruit of the tomatillo is firm, green and relatively small compared to red tomatoes (only about the size of a large, cherry tomato).  They grow to maturity inside of an inedible husk (which gets disgarded), and, range in color from pale green to light brown.  The tomatillo is a staple in Mexican cuisine.  It is used to as an ingredient, cooked and uncooked in a wide range of dishes such as salsas, soups, stews, chili , casseroles, and sauces.  Just peel back the paper husk and use as directed.

6a0120a8551282970b01b7c915eb80970bThat said, here in Happy Valley, fresh tomatillos are sometimes hard to find, and, even when I find them, it's always a bit of a hassle to ask the produce manager if I can peel back the husks to insure the fruit is firm (not squishy) and ripe (green).  

In case you don't know, always look for tomatillos that have filled their husks or broken through their husks (photo to right) -- no matter their size, this means they're fully mature. Avoid tomatillos that look withered or dried out (see photo below).

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d2a0412d970cOnce you get them home, remove the husks and rinse the tomatillos off (because they will be sticky), then use them as directed (which typically requires simmering or broiling as the first step) and/or store in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life.  That said, high quality canned tomatillos are a staple in my pantry. They've already been simmered until soft -- all I have to do is thoroughly drain them. Speaking in approximations, I've deduced:

one 28-ounce can tomatillos = two pounds fresh tomatillos

Try my Green Chile & Tomatillo Chili w/White Beans & Pork:

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d2d3698c970c"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2021


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