I bought seeds for two different types of tomatillo, decribed as "Green Tomatillo" and "Mexican Tomatillo". Not sure if they are supposed to be different or not, but I have noticed that the fruits are a slightly different shape. I sowed enough for four plants of each type, and subsequently kept two of each for planting-up. Having only a vague idea about what to expect, I treated the tomatillos as I would tomatoes (which seems to have worked out OK). I planted them in big tubs, filled with multi-purpose compost. They have done well, and have developed into enormous and rather straggly plants. If I grow them again, I think I would only need two plants. [You do need at least two though, because they are not self-fertile, and will rely on one another for pollination.]
They have already produced masses of fruits, and there is a lot more to come. Each fruit is encased in a sort of husk (very much like the Physalis, or Cape Gooseberry, if you know what that is), so it is quite hard to tell when they are ripe. By trial and error I have established that when the husk begins to split, the fruit is about ready. I think if you left it until the husk went dry and brown it would be too late. The fruit can be eaten raw, but is more normally cooked. Its taste is hard to describe, rather fruity, and not at all like a tomato!
|Green Tomatillos top right|
I wasn't really sure what to do with the fruits, but I obtained a nice recipe for Tomatillo salsa from a friend of my daughter. Joshua Stokes is a professional chef, working in New York. His website is Grill a Chef just in case you're interested. The recipe uses tomatillos, garlic and chilli, with a drizzle of olive oil, roasted in the oven until soft and then zuzzed-up in a food processor until fairly smooth. With the addition of a generous squeeze of lime (and leaf coriander if you like it) this is great as a dip for eating with tortilla chips. There are also some recipes that call for grilled tomatillos, but we haven't yet tried them.
|Tomatillo salsa in the making|
This last weekend we have had some very wet and windy weather, and a couple of the plants toppled over, so I have had to weigh down the pots with some spare bricks!
|Top-heavy Tomatillo plant weighted down with bricks!|