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Amazing Tomatillos! YouCanGrowThat!

This year for the first time we are growing tomatillos at Sow and So. We are big fans of Mexican cuisine and I have been eagerly anticipating making my own salsa verde.

Green Fruits

Tomatillo 1Tomatillos (Physalis Philadelphica) are part of the nightshade family, bearing small round green fruits which are surrounded by an inedible paper-like husk. The husk opens up when the fruit matures. The fruits remain green or purple-green when ripe and they should be firm when picked. They have a tart flavor due to their high pectin content.

As with a lot of sun-loving plants such as tomatoes, chilli peppers and capsicum, tomatillos need at least 20ºC/68ºF to germinate. If you don’t already have a heated propagator then I highly recommend you get one. Sow seeds in February and March and plant out in April and May.

Pollinating Tomatillos

Tomatillo 3It is very important to grow at least two or more tomatillos together to ensure pollination – an isolated tomatillo will rarely set fruit. I have planted mine in pots in the conservatory, helping pollination by brushing my finger from flower to flower (we don’t get a lot of pollinators indoors!).

As I mentioned, tomatillos are used in a variety of  Latin American green sauces but they are also great as a replacement for green tomatoes in chutneys or stews. My tomatillos are still at the flowering stage so I can’t show you any photos of prepared dishes but I did find a few really nice recipes for you to see the value in growing them yourself. For those of us living in a temperate climate it’s probably too late to sow your Tomatillos right now but bear them in mind when you are ordering your seeds for next season…


Salsa Verde

Tomatillo Chicken Stew

Tomatillo Chutney


9 thoughts on “Amazing Tomatillos! YouCanGrowThat!

  1. I love these blossoms. I have already got this down as one of the plants I will try next year.

    1. I didn’t know they had these lovely little flowers and that they would look more like a sweet pepper plant than a tomato. It really is a nice plant to look at. Just to be sure I bought a small paintbrush to pollinate the flowers. As soon as the fruits are setting then I will post some photo’s!

  2. There are some cool varieties in purple and pineapple, too. Now that my electrical raccoon fencing seems to be keeping the rats out, I’ll be growing tomatillos again. (The rats loved them so much they never left me even one piece of fruit! I guess one of them must have been a master at making salsa.)

    1. I have a vision of the rat from ratatouille in my mind now Jane, but then with a mexican sombrero!!

  3. Tomatillos! They are a wonderful plant and fruit. Two years ago, I mixed peppers and

  4. Tomatillos are so much fun to grow and eat. They need space because when they’re happy, they grow big! Two years ago I mixed peppers and tomatillos in a row, and had to move the peppers after a month to get out from under the tomatillos. Last year a volunteer tomatillo appeared in a different bed altogether and gave us fruit. Thank you for this post!

    1. Hi Benita, Thanks for your comment, I always like surprise plants coming up and if they are doing great than it is even better!

  5. Great post. This is the first year I started Tomatillos (Purple) from seed.
    They are growing in our raised beds and just beginning to bloom. Currently – battling harsh Colorado Front Range winds – we hope they make it. I can not wait to try these recipes with our harvest this summer.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. I am growing two tomatillo’s outside as well but we with the weather we have been having (cold, rain and wind) I am not sure they will survive. The ones inside are doing a lot better. Let me know if your tomatillo’s will survive, would love to see some photo’s when they are setting fruit. ( I am glad you liked the post!

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