Before jumping into the “how” of making tomatillo puree, I suppose I should address the question, “Why make tomatillo puree?”
It’s like making tomato soup or tomato sauce. Sometimes chunky is good, and sometimes you want a sublime blend with a smooth texture. That smooth texture comes from pureeing. Then there is the practicality of storing the harvest. Yes, you can freeze whole tomatillos in gallon bags for a few months, and they will be fine. But if freezer space is limited, as it is for many of us, cooking and pureeing the tomatillos and freezing in quart containers is a much more efficient use of space. Plus it will save time when preparing meals later; you just need to thaw the puree, no extra work required.
For me, practicality wins, especially when we are at the height of tomatillo season in the garden and have loads of them still on the vine. I cook them as fast as they come in and prepare puree for freezing when the counters start to overflow. I have not attempted canning tomatillos, but if you want to try it, you can find instructions at the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
And if you need ideas for what to make with your tomatillo puree, check out the chili, sauce, and soup recipes below.
- 2 to 3 pounds/kilos tomatillos, husks removed
- BOILED - Boil the tomatillos in a large, heavy bottom pot until tender, about 5 to 8 minutes. Drain well, and transfer to the blender jar. Allow to cool about 5 minutes. Blend well, until all the chunks are gone. Pour into storage containers and allow to cool, then cover and freeze.
- ROASTED - Preheat the oven to 400° F/200° C. Arrange the tomatillos on a half baking sheet. Roast until the top skins are dark brown, about 20 minutes. Remove and allow to cool about 5 minutes. Transfer the tomatillos and juices to the blender jar. Blend well, until all the chunks are gone. Pour into storage containers and allow to cool, then cover and freeze.
half baking sheet or 6-quart heavy bottom pot with lid
Color of the puree will vary depending on how you cook the tomatillos. Roasted tomatillos will make a darker puree.
You can flavor your tomatillo puree with garlic, chiles, onions, and cilantro. Just add to the blender jar before pureeing. Here are suggested amounts, adjust to your taste:
2 cloves garlic, fresh or roasted
1 to 2 jalapeño, Serrano, or Anaheim chiles, fresh or roasted (seeds removed)
1 small to medium white onion, fresh or roasted
handful fresh cilantro, leaves and stems