Harvesting Tomatillo

Aug 6, 2012

One of  the veggies (fruits) you can count on harvesting, even in 107 F degree weather, is the Tomatillo. This little tomato relative produces shiny green fruits surrounded by a paper wrapper from the calyx. The fruits look like little paper lanterns hanging from the plants once they start to mature. Plant in a sunny location and keep regularly watered. Otherwise, these babies are easy to grow! You'll also hear them referred to as "ground cherries', although this can be confusing because technically that common name refers to plants of the genus Physalis, a relative to the Tomatillo.

Tomatilla

One important thing to note about Tomatillos is that are not self-fertile. This means you'll need to have at least two plants grown together in order to have successful pollination. Three or four plants is much better! Tomatillo plants will sprawl to 4-5 ft. wide and around 4-feet tall (but can get taller!).  Typically, you'll want to harvest the Tomatillo's while the papery shell is still a bit more green than those I have in the photo. I've been remiss in not harvesting mine often enough! But, they till roasted up great.

Green salsa

I love making a "green" sauce or salsa with my Tomatillos. I just pop in the oven under the broiler on high  for about 15 minutes, along with some peppers from the garden. Let the peppers blacken a bit...the Tomatillos should be beginning to blacken in bits, and be soft and popping before taking them out of the oven. I just through it all into my vitamix blender with a bit of salt. Yummy! You can also add garlic if you like a more traditional salsa flavor. Enjoy!

There are 2 comments for this entry

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Stephen
Aug 06, 2012
12:52 pm

I recently discovered “ground cherries” at a farmer’s market n Montreal.  They looked like small, yellow tomatillos, but were really sweet and tasty raw. Do those grow this far south?  I’d seen reverences to them in North Texas and was told that NHG carried them, but after reading that tomatillos are also called by that name, I’m wondering if people were referring to tomatillos and not the yellow “ground cherries”

Leslie Halleck
Aug 06, 2012
1:51 pm

Hi Stephen,
Most of us horticultural folks won’t refer to Tomatillo as ground cherries…we stick with Tomatillo and we reserve that common name for Physalis - or the sweet smaller yellow fruit you describe. North Haven Gardens carries both Tomatillo and the actual Ground Cherry, when it’s available. You can usually count on seeing Tomatillo transplants in the garden center in late May-June, but ground cherries (Physalis) will be less common.

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