Tomatillo - How to cook and grow

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I really enjoyed growing tomatillo plants last year, I grew them in a polytunnel and they produced a surprisingly large amount of fruit just as my chillies were ripening to make a perfect summer salsa.


Tomatillo

Not as popular in Europe as it is in Mexico and America, the fruit was first established by the Aztecs and remains an important part of Mexican cookery. Similar in their outer appearance to a Cape Gooseberry they have a brown, paper-like husk with an inside fruit which, when ripe should be a shiny, bright green and quite firm to the touch.

How to Grow

I grew the plants from seed in late spring, they need a long growing season and once established in pots in the greenhouse I transplanted them into grow bags in the polytunnel. They need plenty of moist soil to begin and a drop of liquid tomato feed helps the process. Plant them quite close together to aid germination, I found them very easy to grow, they need some form of support as the plant grows to about four feet and can bear a lot of fruit. Harvest the fruits as soon as they are firm to the touch.

How to Cook

The fruits are best known for their use in Mexican salsas, tart and citrus-like, they are wonderful with hot chillies and fresh coriander. Cut the fruits into slices or chunks, they can be served with finely sliced onions and shallots to make a refreshing side salad to a hot main course. Do not be tempted to substitute green tomatoes for them, tomatoes in their green state can be poisonous and they are quite unlike.

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Content and picture Miles Collins

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