Care and Planting Instructions

Tomatillos are drought tolerant and prefer full sun. Plant outside after danger of frost and nighttime temperatures have moderated above 50° F. Plants can grow 16-18″ tall. If you cage them, space plants 12-18″ apart in rows 2-3′ apart. For freefall, allow up to 3′ of space between plants. Do not plant tomatillos where nightshade crops, including tomatoes and peppers, have been grown for at least 3 growing seasons.

To plant, remove from pot and set them slightly deeper than they were previously growing. To help control spread, pinch off the tips of the branches. Water if the weather is dry, and apply a loose mulch to retain moisture.

Harvest when the fruit is about the size of a walnut. The paper husks will change from green to tan and will split apart when the fruit is ready for picking. If left on the vine to ripen, they will begin to change color and will lose some of their tartness. Before using, remove the inedible paper husk and wash to remove the sticky film from the fruit.

Tomatillo physalis philadelphica

Grande Rio Verde
Produces high yields of 3-oz. green, globe-shaped
Mexican husk tomatoes on a medium determinate
plant. Unique flavor makes a tasty salsa verde.
Full sun. Water regularly. 75 days to maturity.
Purple Tomatillo
Deep violet skin with bright green interior flesh.
Sweeter flavor than the green varieties. Harvest after
the papery hush has split and fruits are golf ball sized.
Harvest 75-80 days.

Tomatillo culture –

The tomatillo, also known as the husk tomato, is a member of the nightshade family. It bears small, spherical green or green-purple fruit about the size of a large cherry tomato. Originating in Mexico, tomatillos are a staple of that country’s cuisine. Tomatillos are grown as annuals throughout the Western Hemisphere. The tomatillo fruit is surrounded by an inedible, paper-like husk. As the fruit matures, it fills the husk that splits open at harvest time. When the husk turns tan/brown, the ripened fruit can be several colors including yellow, red, green, or even purple.

Tomatillos are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked Latin American green sauces, like salsa verde, and have a high pectin content. Raw or cooked, they give sauces a distinctive flavor. Try using them fresh, chopped up in salads, tacos or sandwiches. Although the tomatillo is similar in appearance to green tomatoes, they are not interchangeable in recipes. The flesh has a different texture and is quite seedy without the juicy cavities of a tomato. Fruit should be firm and bright green, as the green color and tart flavor are the main culinary contributions of the fruit. Purple and red-ripening cultivars often have a slight sweetness, unlike the green- and yellow-ripening cultivars, and are therefore suitable for fruit-like uses like jams and preserves.

Tomatillo plants are highly self-incompatible, and two or more plants are needed for proper pollination. Thus, isolated tomatillo plants rarely set fruit. If you are not going to use them immediately, leave the husks intact, and either store them on the counter or in the refrigerator. Ripe tomatillos will keep in the refrigerator for about two weeks, but do not store well if kept in air-tight containers. They may also be frozen whole or sliced. Another method is to pull back the husks and string them like you would garlic; they can keep like this for months. Canning is another option.