You don’t hear much about them, and they can be tough to find in your average grocery store, but tomatillos are a staple in Mexican and Southwestern cusine. Every wonder what makes salsa verde so verde? It’s the tomatillos.
Tomatillos are a tomato-like fruit with a tart-sweet flavor. The green ones are most familiar, but other varieties include purple, red and yellow fruit. Unlike tomatoes, tomatillos have a papery husk that surrounds the fruit.
You can grow tomatillos anywhere that has moderate summer weather. The plants love plenty of sunshine and prefer drier, well-drained soil. A soil pH of 7.0 is ideal. Start plants indoors from seed (like you would tomato plants) and transplant the tomatillo plants outdoors when soil temperatures are at least 50 F.
Set plants a couple feet apart and use tomato cages to give them support. You will need to plant at least two plants because they must cross-pollinate to produce fruit. Another benefit of adding tomatillos to the garden is that they are excellent bee attractors, so manual pollination shouldn’t be necessary for them or other nearby flowering plants.
Harvest tomatillos when the papery husk becomes dry and straw-colored. You can store them in the refrigerator for two weeks or can them to preserve.