Home Food Garden-to-Table My Surprise Crop: Tomatillos

My Surprise Crop: Tomatillos

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.




  1. 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.

    RuxtonGardener.com (this new site will be up and running shortly)

  2. 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.


    • 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.


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