How to Grow Tasty Tomatillos

Let’s celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the lively taste of tomatillo!

While planting tomatoes this season, be sure to add a couple of tomatillo plants to your gardening efforts.

Classic Mexican dishes need the lively taste of tomatillo to roast, grill or simmer into a chile verde sauce or use raw in salsa, guacamole or gazpacho.

Tomatilllo (toh-mah-TEE-yoh) may look a little like its distant cousin the tomato, but they’re miles apart in taste.

The fruits are eaten green, while still firm and have a sweet, but lively lemon-apple-herb taste that’s essential to Mexican and Southwestern cooking.

I grew several tomatillo ‘Toma Verde’ plants last summer and enjoyed the entire process. These plants produce small-size fruit, but there are other varieties that grow bigger or those that ripen to a deep purple.

I started the seeds along with the tomato seeds in spring and transplanted two little plants to my container garden once the weather warmed. But I’ve also seen tomatillo plants on the vegetable tables at local garden centers.

The plants grew quickly and seemed to dwarf the tomatoes that were planted at the same time. Bright yellow flowers appeared quickly, too, and tiny paper husks started to take shape.

These vining plants took about 75 days to mature. I knew they were ready to harvest when the fruit was bright green and their papery husks turned a light brown.

To use in cooking, peel away the husks. Wash the sticky residue from the fruit and then they’re ready to use in all kinds of delicious dishes.

Some were used raw to add a kick to guacamole and others chopped and then sprinkled on top of chilled gazpacho. They were beautiful added to homemade salsa, too.

Tomatillos can also be roasted, grilled or simmered into a zippy chile verde sauce.

Do you have a good tomatillo recipe? If so, please share it here.


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Tomatillos are not self pollinating, you have to have 2 if you want fruit. A recipe someone in Oaxaca gave me, they cut them in half and toss them in a dry hot skillet and cook, then add salt and eat… plan to try it this summer.

Thanks for the tips!

tried to grow in southern Ontario , the plants are spindly but are forming pod how long to harvest

Tomatillos are tropical plants and need a lot of hot days and warm nights to grow and form fruits. They can take as long as 100 days to reach maturity.

Here’s a good growing guide with more info:

Thanks for your question,

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