Tomatillos 560 315 Eco Garden Systems

Grow Something New Every Garden season

Last summer I saw countless posts on these green looking tomatoes (which are not tomatoes, but belong to the same nightshade family) that make the most delicious salsa verde. I thought that is something I am going to try in the Eco Garden System next spring. Traveling around to different garden shows I was often asked if certain vegetables would grow in the Eco System and of course my answer was yes, most vegetables and these are the ones I have tried. (I even grew peanuts which was fun to share with interesting buyers.) My goal after these shows was to make sure I tried a few new varieties of vegetables to ensure I knew what I was talking about.

Tomatillos, what are they? They are intriguing and I couldn’t resist trying to grow some. Off to the garden center to find one to plant. I was lucky to find one and I proudly brought it home and planted it in my Eco Garden System. As I patiently waited for it to produce these amazing green colored tomato looking fruits, I realized I should have planted two of these overbearing massive plants. (It even said it on the plant marker! Oops) I decided to take my chances and see if one plant would produce and it did! There were lanterns everywhere and they were growing fruit in each of them. Success!

Let me give you a little information on tomatillos because when you branch out and try something new you end up educating yourself on a plant you would have never taken the time to know. I have learned five things about the tomatillos:

• It is pronounced to-ma-TEE-yo. No L’s in this pronunciation!

• You DO need two plants to cross pollinate to ensure fruit formation. I did not have room due to planting other vegetation so I just let it go. The lanterns produced by the dozens each day and I thought to myself too bad they don’t glow at night. How pretty that would be in the garden! I did get lucky with my ONE plant and had an abundance of fruit expanding in their tissue paper thin lanterns. (Thank you pollinators!)

• Not all tomatillos are green. There are purple and yellow varieties. I thought I bought a green variety but they just kept getting big and yellow. The husks would turn brown and the fruit would turn a pale yellow. The plant looked healthy but these were clearly yellow. So, back to the research and yes there are yellow ones as well. So my marker showed green ones and oh in small print above it….you must plant TWO. Yep, gardening 101—read your markers! So this plant gets to stay again after contemplating twice to remove it. Grow on!

• They are to a certain extent poisonous! The stems, the leaves, and the lanterns can make you sick if you consume them. When harvesting and preparing for cooking it is important to wash them thoroughly. You will notice they have a sticky coating once you peel them and that should be rinsed completely. The verdict is out on whether they taste better raw or cooked. Some say they are better cooked and after reading the poisonous part these guys are getting cooked in my house! However, remember the leaves and stems of the tomato plant are also poisonous. Underripe tomatillos are considered poisonous and best eaten when they have split open the lantern and have turned a rich green in color (or in my case, yellow). They can be tossed into salads raw or roasted and grilled. You can eat them raw!

• They are known as the Mexican husk tomato. They do not taste like a tomato at all! They are dry and do not have as much juice as a tomato. The yellow ones that I grew were sweet and had some flavor. Not a lot. They are good in Mexican dishes and when cooked taste sweeter. Oh, and again, they are VERY sticky! They have to be washed thoroughly to remove the sticky residue after you peel the paper thin tissue off of them.

In the end, I don’t believe I will grow this interesting and intriguing plant again! But it was fun and educational to try something I didn’t even pronounce right. In my Eco garden system it is so easy to try new varieties of vegetables. The soil maintains a moist consistency and makes just about everything thrive. I have a cucamelon growing as well and because it is new to me I am learning more and more on this too. (The birds really like them before they mature!) After talking about the peanut plant I grew two summers ago I think I am going to grow more of them this spring. I am currently searching for a new vegetable to try this next growing season that will knock it out of the park! If any suggestions, comment below!


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