One bright Autumn day I found Susanna and her Mom cleaning the husks from a half bushel basket of tomatillos. They stood next to the young pigs who were eating the leaves and paper-like coverings of the fruit. A couple of weeks later we were the happy recipients of some green salsa made from that garden harvest. Yummy!
We’ve raised these tomato family vegetables for a long time as they are the basis for so many of our spicy relishes and salsas. Like most of the nightshade family that includes eggplants and tomatoes, the plants like full hot sun and well drained composted soil. Like tomatoes they can be germinated six to eight weeks before the last frost, hardened off and planted where they can spread three to four feet wide and tall. Plant them deeply as their stems will grow roots. They are prolific so you will probably only need a few plants. We will be selling young plants during our spring plant sales.
Tomatillos are an ancient vegetable domesticated by the Aztecs three thousand years ago. The tangy citrus like sweetness intensifies as they ripen. Varieties are marble to hard-ball sized and ripen to be yellow to purple sticky fruits inside their paper like husks. Many folks pick them green and early for the zesty aftertaste they add to their culinary handiwork. They can be stored for a couple of weeks on the counter or in the fridge. Try this Central American vegetable to add its distinctive taste to your meals.