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All About Tomatillos

How to Buy, Store, and Use Tomatillos




Photo © Molly Watson

Tomatillos look like small green tomatoes (of which they are a distant relative) covered with a papery husk. They have a bright, lemon-like flavor perfect with spicy food or alongside grilled items. They can also add a nice hit of acid to stews and other heavy fare.

Tomatillos are small, round fruits harvested in late summer and into fall. They would ripen to yellow, red, or purple if we let them, but unripe – green – tomatillos, oddly, have more flavor.

How to Choose Tomatillos

Look for tomatillos that are firm but not rock-hard with husks that are more or less intact. The husk can be split open, but you don't want them to have been handled so much that the husks are ripped off.

How to Store Tomatillos

Store tomatillos briefly at room temperature or for up to a week wrapped loosely in plastic in the fridge.

How to Use Tomatillos

The papery husks on tomatillos are pretty, but they need to be removed before cooking. Rinse de-husked tomatillos – they may well feel a bit sticky, that's okay.

Tomatillos are often used chopped and cooked into sauces to play a background note. Tomatillos fabulous lemon-y flavor can carry a dish, though, such as this Grilled Tomatillo Salsa or Green Chile Tomatillo Soup. I'm also a fan of these Fried Tomatillos, a delicious riff on fried green tomatoes.

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