Tomatillos are not tomatoes!
Although the name suggests it, the delicious tomatillos are not real tomatoes. The following article will give you an idea of what these vegetables are all about. For example, where does it come from and how is it mainly used in the kitchen? These and other questions are answered in detail.
Description of Tomatillos:
The only common feature of tomatoes with tomatillos is the fact that both species are Solanaceae and the shape of the fruit. The tomatillos, however, are, in botanical terms, relatives of the physalis. This relationship cannot be denied, both plants develop the same, papery shell around the delicious fruit. Basically, this is the rest of the calyx into which the fruit grows. The tomatillos reach sizes of on average 10 centimeters. These dimensions are sufficient to burst the mentioned shell. The tomatillos are usually harvested in a green, i.e. immature state. When the fruit is fully ripe, the color of the fruit changes to yellow. The taste of tomatillos is comparable to that of gooseberries.
What are the special features of growing tomatillos?
If you want to plant tomatillos in your home garden, you must pay attention to some important things. In no case should the seeds be planted in the ground without it having germinated beforehand. The necessary pre-seed can already be started at the end of March, in so-called seeding trays. The time until the seed starts to germinate is between 7 and 10 days. Once the plants in the shells have reached a size of 5 centimeters, they can be easily relocated in pots. Due to their high susceptibility to frost, the tomatillos should not be exposed outdoors until May 20th. If the plants have reached this size, they must necessarily be tied, otherwise they would, due to the weight of the fruit, be buckling and lying on the ground, and end up growing horizontally. If several Tomatillo plants are to be brought into the soil, at least 80 cm2 must be left between the individual plants, so that the plants can thrive really well. It is also important to know that the tomatillos are annual plants. This means that the crop has only one season of fruit and must be sown again next year.
What can tasty tomatillos be used for in the kitchen?
In Mexico and in the southwestern states of the United States of America, the delicious tomatillos are a staple ingredient in many dishes, such as delicious salsas. The tomatillos, for example, not only give the Salsa Verde an extra, green color, they also ensure a better consistency of the sauce. This wonderful vegetable is also used in numerous stews and soups of the Tex-Mex-kitchen frequently. The tomatillos also taste fantastic grilled and roasted. In this way, the sour-spicy flavor is naturally enhanced many times over. Tomatillos also taste great in raw form, for example in a salad. The Tomatillos not only taste good, they also bring a lot of benefits to the body, with their high vitamins and minerals content. The most common uses of tomatillos in the kitchen we have listed again in bullet points:
- sauces (for example, salsas)
What methods are there to roast the tomatillos?
There are several methods to roast tomatillos, five to be exact. All aim at the same result, namely to make the tasty tomatillos by water and sugar deprivation even tastier. What are five ways to roast tomatillos? The first method is a dry roast on the stove. To achieve a good result, the tomatillos are placed in a heavy pan (preferably made of iron). It is important in this method that no more than one layer is formed in the pan, so that the heat reaches every fruit. Now the tomatillos are roasted at low temperature for about 20 minutes. The roasted tomatillos can be considered cooked as soon as they are soft and brown. The fruits must not turn black during this process. Before the tomatillos can be consumed or processed, they must first cool down. The second roasting method is the dry roasting in the oven. For this option, the oven must be preheated to 200 ° Celsius and a baking tray with aluminum foil has to be at hand. In addition, the tomatillos must still be cut open, widthwise. Now the cut fruit, with the cut surface down, should be laid on the tray. After about 20 minutes, the tomatillos are cooked, this is recognizable by the wrinkled skin and the brown color. Of course, the roasted tomatillos must also cool down before they can be used again. The next option to roast Tomatillos offers the electronic grill, while the procedure is similar, as in the method in the oven. The biggest difference is that the individual tomatillos must be brushed with oil before roasting. Now the delicious tomatillos can be roasted first 8 minutes from one side and another 5 minutes from the other side. Of course, after roasting, the tomatillos must cool down. Another method to roast tomatillos, and thus refine, is with a charcoal or gas grill. Important in this variant is that the grill is well preheated (in a charcoal grill, the coal must be completely gray). Then the grill is covered with vegetable oil. Now the tomatillos can be grilled from both sides. The tomatillos are ready roasted when their skin takes on a black color. Prior to further use, the roasted tomatillos, of course, in this also need to cool down properly first. The last method of toasting tomatillos is also the simplest, it works with a flame brewer. In order to roast the tomatillos in this way, the fruits must be kept only under the flame of the flame brewer. However, care must be taken to ensure safety, the use of pliers and fireproof gloves is very advisable here. As with all other ways to roast the tomatillos, the freshly roasted fruits must first cool down before they can be consumed or reused. The methods to roast tomatillos, once again, are summarized in the following list:
- Dry roast on the oven
- Dry roast in the oven
- Roasting with an electronic grill
- Roasting with a charcoal or gas grill
- Roasting with a flame brewer
Are fresh tomatillos better than those from the can?
In general, of course, fresh produce often tastes much better than canned food (convenience). Not infrequently, the tomatillos from the tin are preserved directly after harvest, which of course directly benefits the Central American vegetables, because the quality is not diminished. For those of us who have little time left, the ready-to-eat tomatillos made from cans are therefore definitely available, they can generally also be processed immediately. Of course, it is unattainable that self-grown tomatillos, from their own garden, to be used for dining with family or friends. Of course, this is also associated with a considerable additional effort. At the present time, it is still possible for the few to grow tomatillos themselves. The same as for a rented apartment? Qualitatively, there is no serious difference between the purchased tomatillos from the tin and the fresh, only the self-grown are of course a class of its own. If you want to try the typical Mexican cuisine, Tomatillos from the tin, this is certainly not a bad choice.
Can tomatillos be preserved too?
Yes, that's fine. To preserve the tasty tomatillos, they must first be blanched. For this, the fruits are placed in boiling water for a short time and then "quenched" with cold water. After this process, the tomatillos can be frozen in portions. So, there is always a supply of delicious vegetables available. If the tomatillos are frozen without blanching beforehand, there is a risk that the tomatillos will discolor.
In which variations are tomatillos commercially available?
In addition to the previously mentioned tomatillos from the tin, the vegetables are of course also sold in fresh form. The purchase of Tomatillo seeds is also possible on the Internet, for example in the Pepperworld Hot Shop. With these seeds you can grow your own tomatillos in your own garden every year.
What is the conclusion about the tomatillos?
Despite the slightly misleading name, tomatillos are not tomatoes. Both plants belong to the nightshade family. Visually, the fruit resembles, due to the papery shell, the Physalis, with which it is also related. The vegetables are among the classics in Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisine. Tomatillos are also eaten in the southwestern United States. The tasty tomatillos are mainly used in sauces, soups and stews. In roasted form they develop their great aroma especially well. To roast the tomatillos, there are several methods. The tomatillos are mainly either canned or as seed offered. Amongst others, the tomatillos can be found in our Pepperworld Hot Shop. When breeding in your own garden you must pay attention to some important things. The home-grown tomatillos can also be easily frozen if blanched beforehand. So, there is a supply of tasty tomatillos in the house all year round.