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We grow our tomatillos in one of our polytunnels, giving them plenty of sunlight and warmth. They can be eaten green (under ripe) or yellow (ripe) and both have their own distinctive taste.
At our tasting session in Liskeard in August 2020 we had a poll of what they tasted like – that ranged from tomato/melon, tomato/grape, tomato/cucumber, tomato/apple and tomato/gooseberry. It ranged widely but what was sure was that they were delicious! 95% of our local market customers loved them!
They are actually not a tomato but the fruit of a different plant. Sometimes they are called Mexican green tomatoes or Jamberries. Tomatillos are coated in a sticky residue and covered with a thin, papery husk on the outside. Why are they sticky? Turns out that this sticky substance is a natural deterrent against insects. Luckily for us the sticky film rinses off easily.
How to use:
First remove the husk and rinse gently under cold running water. Below are four popular, simple methods to prepare tomatillos.
Raw or uncooked tomatillos are often in Mexican sauces. They add a fresh citrus-like flavour.
Blanching tomatillos before using them will mellow the flavour. Remove the husks and rinse before blanching for 5 minutes or until soft. Drain and crush or puree as directed in your recipe.
Fire roasting tomatillos will enrich sauces with a smoky flavour. Roast under the broiler, with a propane torch, or over an open flame such as a grill. Make sure the heat is quite hot before roasting. If the heat is not hot enough, the tomatillos will turn mushy before being charred.
Dry roasting will produce an earthy, nutty flavour. Place the tomatillos in a heavy fry pan (preferably a cast iron pan). Turn heat to low and roast for approximately 20 to 30 minutes, turning occasionally.