Categories: Garden-to-Table

My Surprise Crop: Tomatillos

By Published On: September 15, 2014
My Surprise Crop: Tomatillos

Home Grown Tomatillos


This season yielded my most generous crop of tomatillos yet. It’s a happy surprise and bit of a puzzler — it’s always interesting to see what takes from one season to the next. The tomato crop was good, the tomatillos amazing. I’m not sure what I was doing in the past, with only a modest showing of fruit, but my guess points to the usual suspects — weather, water, nutrients and aspect. The right combination at the right time.

Notes for my garden journal:

  • Heavy application of compost over an inch or two of manure in the fall/early winter. (The soil at time of planting was amazing.)
  • Triple checked the drip irrigation system to be sure watering was consistent and deep but not over-watered.
  • Tucked them in near the tomatoes but not too close, ensuring they had plenty of sunlight. (Tomatoes out-competed them in the past.)
  • I added an organic vegetable fertilizer (5-7-3) to the root zone when planting but I didn’t reapply fertilizer after they set fruit.

These tomatillos, as you can see, are so perfectly plumb and absolutely beautiful, I couldn’t cook them up into my favorite salsa verde right away. Instead they took center stage on the kitchen table for a few days, just long enough for me to soak them in.




Tomatillos can be eaten raw, roasted, blanched — you name it. They have a wonderful, citrus-like flavor. Personally, I love them in salsa and sauces and combine them with enchiladas, tacos or thinly sliced on pizza.

I roasted this batch for about 5 minutes after cutting them in half and placing them face down on a baking dish. And then I combined them in a blender with my salsa verde ingredients.

Salsa Verde Ingredients:

  • 6 to 8 medium tomatillos
  • 1 to 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped (I error on the side of more and usually throw in extra.)
  • 1 generous handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup onion
  • 1/2 fresh squeezed lime
  • 1/4 tsp salt or salt to taste

What to do:

  • Pre-heat oven to broil.
  • Slice tomatillos in half and place face down on a baking sheet. (I line the baking sheet with foil.)
  • Roast 5 minutes until darkened and juicy.
  • Combine in blender, juices included, with remaining ingredients and puree.
  • Chill and serve.

*Note: don’t be afraid to double the recipe or reduce it, depending on how much fruit you’re working with. Also, I like to let the quality of my ingredients dictate proportions. If the produce is amazing, like these tomatillos, I like to let their flavor shine.



Farm Stand at the Old Brick Store
How to Collect & Save Tomato Seeds


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About the Author: Emily Murphy

I’ve learned there’s something wonderfully powerful in the simple act of growing. Here, in our gardens, we can repair ourselves and our plots of earth with our own two hands. GROW WHAT YOU LOVE and GROW NOW!


  1. John Lalley November 26, 2014 at 6:48 am - Reply

    Thanks Emily. I grew tomatillo’s last year thinking they were cherry tomatoes and did not have time to research recipes. I love making salsa with fresh ingredients. I have put them on my seed list for next year.

    John (this new site will be up and running shortly)

  2. Caroline September 18, 2014 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    Thanks Emily! I just added them to my list and I will let you know. There seem to be so many amazing recipes out there for them and It’s always fun to try something new.


    • Emily Murphy September 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      Agreed. Loads of wonderful varieties and crops to try. Especially now that we have growing access to heirloom seeds. Hope to stay in touch!

  3. Caroline September 17, 2014 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    Do you happen to remember what you planted? They look fabulous and I’d love to order some seed!


    • Emily Murphy September 17, 2014 at 8:40 pm - Reply

      Standard purple and green tomatillos. They tend to be prolific – which this season they certainly were. But next season I may try another variety just for fun. Let me know what you decide to grow. Will be fun to compare notes.