The sweet tangy flavo is essential for many southwestern dishes.
Tomatillos have the sweet tangy flavor that is essential for authentic salsa and many southwestern dishes. Fruits, the size of a small tomato, are green when ripe and are encased in papery husks. Prolific.
Start tomatillo seeds indoors in a warm, well-lighted area about 8 weeks before planting outdoors. Sow seed 1/4" deep into individual containers filled with seed-starting formula. Place containers in a south facing window or under grow lights until seedlings emerge. Keep moist. Seedlings emerge in 10-21 days at 75-80¿F.
How to Grow
Before transplanting, move to a sheltered area outside for a week. Transplant hardened-off seedlings to the garden once nighttime temperatures remain above 50°F. Set them slightly deeper than they were previously growing. Space tomatillo plants 2’ apart if you will cage them, 3’ apart if you do not cage. Pinch off the tips of the branches to control spread. Water if the weather is dry, and apply a loose mulch to retain moisture. Do not plant tomatillos where nightshade crops, including tomatoes and peppers, have been grown for at least 3 seasons.
Harvest tomatillos when the fruits fill out the husks and the husks begin to break open, about 100 days after transplanting. In some cases, the fruits will not break open the husks, and you have to feel the fruits for firmness. Ripe tomatillos turn from green to pale yellow. Harvest the fruits, husks and all. If you are using them right away, remove the husks and wash the sticky fruits. Leave the husks in place, and you can store the fruits for up to a month. (Do not seal them in plastic bags or airtight containers. Instead, store them in mesh bags in a cool, well-ventilated spot.) Tomatillos are the key ingredient in Salsa Verde.