We didn't expect our tomatillo plants to grow as large as they did, and Michael was downright skeptical when I brought them home.
M: "What kind of tomato is this?"
A: "It's a tomatillo, not a tomato, and we're going to try growing some this year."
M: "What do you use them for?"
A: "Good Mexican salsa."
M: "Whatever you want, Sweet Pea." Thankfully he enjoys Mexican food and he's very flexible about my garden and kitchen experiments.
Unknown to me at the time, I needed at least two tomatillos planted close to each other so they could cross-pollinate, and luckily the small pot I purchased had two plants in it, so we were set. I put them in the row alongside the grape tomatoes and then watched and waited.
They grew pretty quickly and it seems like they shot up to about nine feet (~3 meters) tall overnight. The blossoms showed up in July and seemed to hang around forever before we finally saw some little fruits sprouting. I checked it every day, watching for ripened tomatillos.
The fruits are ready when they fill the husk, and the fruit is harvested while still green. If it's yellow, the fruit has started losing it's tart flavor. You can preserve the tomatillos whole, just toss them into a large freezer bag. If freezer space is at a premium, you can slice them before freezing, though the fruits will lose some of their nutrients this way.
We're doing a little bit of everything with these beauties: making fresh salsa, canning salsa, and freezing some whole for the winter. The flavor is bright and Michael and the boys thoroughly enjoy this fresh, easy salsa from Rick Bayless. It's great as an appetizer with tortilla chips and arepas (though not Mexican) or spooned over tacos and fajitas.
This is my contribution to Grow Your Own, a blogging event that celebrates the dishes we create from foods we've grown, raised, foraged, or hunted ourselves. Our host for this round is Denise of Chez Us, and the deadline for posts is September 30. Make sure you visit Chez Us for more information on how to participate in this round, and also check out the Grow Your Own page for more information about the event.
ROASTED GREEN TOMATILLO SALSA (AKA SALSA VERDE)
Adapted from Rick Bayless.
large skillet lined with foil (for easy cleanup)
4 medium (about 8 ounces/227 g total), tomatillos, husked, rinsed and halved
2 large garlic cloves, peeled
1 - 2 jalapeño chilies, stemmed and roughly chopped
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 small white onion, finely chopped
salt to taste
1. Place the halved tomatillos and the whole garlic clove in the large skillet lined with foil. Set the skillet over medium heat and and dry roast for about 3 to 4 minutes per side. The tomatillos should be soft and blotchy and the garlic will be browned.
2. Transfer the roasted tomatillos and garlic to the blender. Add the jalapenos and cilantro. Blend until you have a smooth consistency. Pour into a serving bowl.
3. Rinse the chopped onion and stir into the salsa. Add salt to taste and serve.