A distant relative to tomatoes, tomatillos add a lovely brightness and acidity to salsas, sauces, and soups. Find out more about the nutritional benefits of tomatillos and tips for buying, storing and cooking.
Shaped like a green tomato, tomatillos technically aren’t tomatoes, but rather a distant relative.
Also called the Mexican husk tomato, tomatillos are round, green fruits covered in light brown husks.
While they will turn yellow, red, or purple once ripened, they’re one of the few fruits and vegetables that taste best when they’re still unripe.
Flavor-wise, tomatillos have a bright, acidic flavor that’s similar to a lemon. While delicious roasted or fried, they’re most often used in sauces and stews.
However, once ripened, tomatillos become sweeter and can be used to make jams and jellies.
One medium tomatillo provides:
They’re also a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, niacin, potassium, manganese, and magnesium.
As with many fruits and vegetables, they’re also an excellent source of antioxidants.
Specifically, tomatillos contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which play an important role in protecting our retinas from blue light, which we’re exposed to from LED lights and electronics, especially TV screens, computers and smartphones.
By protecting our eyes from blue light, these antioxidants help reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Tomatillos should be firm, but not rock-hard and have fresh-looking husks. The more brown and drier the husks, the longer it’s been since they’ve been harvested.
Tomatillos can be kept at room temperature for 1-2 days; or wrapped in plastic and kept in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Just be sure to keep the husks on until you’re ready to start cooking with them.
To use tomatillos, remove the husks and rinse well under running water. You’ll notice the skins of tomatillos will be sticky or waxy-feeling before rinsing – don’t worry, that’s completely normal!
Most tomatillo recipes involve dicing them and adding to soups, stews, and salsas. To make them a little sweeter and easier to pulse into a sauce, they can be roasted or broiled until lightly blistered.
They can also be used as a bright, slightly sour spin on traditional fried green tomatoes.
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