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Tomatillos or Green Tomatoes? That is the question.

Center cut, peeled and whole tomatillo isolated on white background.

I am not sure if you have ever made the same mistake I did by stating that tomatillos and green tomatoes are the same thing. It was a bigger mistake to say this to our Latin market sales support representative at GoFresh. I was taken out to the warehouse and shown the differences between the two products I had just tried to combine. So that you might not make the same mistake, so here is what I learned.

Even though a rose by any other name might smell as sweet; tomatillos are not tomatoes. You might have heard them also called: husk tomatoes, Mexican ground cherry, large-flowered tomatillo, Mexican husk tomato, Mexican green tomato or miltomate.

Green tomatoes, simply stated, are not fully ripened red tomatoes. They taste more acidic or tart and are firmer, but if left on the counter to ripen, they can eventually turn red. However, your once green tomatoes might not have the full flavor as if it had been left to ripen on the stem in the garden in the sunshine. Tomatillos are fruit of another plant.

Christine Gallary from Kitchn:

“Tomatillos are sometimes called Mexican green tomatoes or Jamberries. They are also green, although they can ripen to yellow. Tomatillos are coated in a sticky residue and covered with a thin, papery husk on the outside. Cooking helps soften the thick skin and brings out more flavor. Tomatillos have a tart, fruity, and slightly herbal flavor. They’re most often used in salsas and sauces, although they can also be eaten raw (and have a more acidic taste when raw). Tomatillos can be found year-round, most often in Latin American grocery stores.”

                       Red tomatoes with cut isolated on white background

Center cut, peeled and whole tomatillo isolated on white background.

Green tomatoes on a white background



Now that I know what they are, how do I pick a good one, and use them? Karissa Bowers from Organic Authority has some good advice. “When selecting tomatillos, choose ones that are both firm and have tight-fitting husks. If the husk is loose, check inside to make sure the interior is unwrinkled and still vibrant. This will indicate the tomatillo is not overripe. Tomatillos can be enjoyed raw, cooked, or blended in sauces.”

Sauces? Tell Me More!

Add some fresh pineapple to Salsa Verde and keep it a secret. People will fall in LOVE!

Here are some recipes to try:

  • Vegan Chilaquiles
  • Roasted Tomatillos Chickpea Curry
  • Watermelon, Strawberry & Tomatillo Salad
  • Potato Tacos with Mango & Salsa Verde
  • Vegan Enchilada Sauce


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