I grew a bunch from seed this year and they seem to be doing well! Question is how do I know when to pick them and what can I do with them?
check with the marketing forum
Why marketing forum?
We picked our tomatillos and they varied in size from "boulder" sized (if you are familiar with marbles vs boulders... haha.)..the largest was about the size of a good sized apricot. Since they are a very tart vegetable I don't think the flavor varies much in the small to larger sizes but I am not inclined to take a bite of them to find out.
Your tomatillos are ready when the fruit fills the husk and splits it. They are tart (they remind me of a lime-flavored cucumber) but we like them raw on salads, in salsa verde (NCHFP has a tomatillo salsa recipe that's very good), roasted with onions and garlic, in a salad of black beans and corn.
If you let them ripen on the plant until the husk starts to dry, rather than just split, they will get a bit less tart. I'm not sure I'd call it "sweeter". Peel the husk and wash them well. The fruit is sticky. They store OK in the fridge, but I think they lose a lot of their flavor, much like tomatoes do.
This is our first year growing them, too, and they will be a staple in the garden from now on.
Yum, they sound delicious! Thanks for the info! I'm excited to try them. Will be canning salsa verde for sure! My 'pods' are still hollow feeling so my guess is I still have some time.
The marketing forum has several people that grow and harvest, while they may not preserve. Not everyone here grows what the preserve. I was just suggesting on the harvesting part.
Chiming in with Malna. When the husk splits, they're ready. I love salsa verde and have canned up some of that delicious sauce. You can use them cooked with meat for a delicious chile verde (basically, pork or beef chunks cooked with tomatillo, onions, garlic...). I like to eat chile verde with soupy beans and Mexican-style rice and warm tortillas. You can also make burritos with the meat/tomatillo mixture and freeze them for lunches and other meals.
When looking at the NCHFP recipe for salsa verde, I know at the bottom that it mentions that you cannot alter the vegetable proportions. I can't do peppers. Can the tomatillos be increased to counter the peppers? DH can always add peppers later, but I can't remove them. Or does anyone have a good safe tomatillo salsa verde recipe without peppers?
You can leave the peppers out but you cannot increase any of the other ingredients. Just make it without the peppers.
The general rule is that you can always decrease or leave out a low acid ingredient but you can never increase one. It changes the pH. So even tho in this particular case the tomatillos are lower pH than the peppers, there is no way to know how many of them added would skew the pH. Sorry, no trade-offs.
Unfortunately, balloonflower, chiles and/or peppers are an integral flavor component of salsa verde - it just wouldn't be the same without them, so I'd bet you won't find a salsa verde recipe that doesn't contain some type of pepper.
You could try this Tomatillo Salsa from Ball, as it's a smaller batch (4 half pint jars) and try leaving out the peppers to see if the taste is acceptable.
Source: Ball website (freshpreserving.com)
Makes about 4 (8 oz) half pints
The combination of tomatillos, chilies and cilantro creates a salsa with an authentic Mexican taste. In addition to making a great dip for corn chips, this salsa works well as a condiment for fajitas, burritos and quesadillas.
You will need:
5-1/2 cups chopped cored husked tomatillos (about 2 lbs or 27 medium)
1 cup chopped onion (about 1 large)
1 cup chopped green chilies (about 2 medium)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp minced cilantro
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup vinegar
4 Tbsp lime juice
4 (8 oz) half pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands
1.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
2.) COMBINE all ingredients in a large saucepan.
3.) HEAT to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
4.) LADLE hot salsa in to hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Wipe rim. Center hot lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
5.) PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
Dave, thank you for all the advice you give on this forum. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is very grateful.
I actually do make tomatillo salsa without peppers and like it myself, generally increasing the cilantro to help balance flavors. I'm sure anyone who likes a normal version would disagree, and DH does add his peppers to his portion. Thank you for the other recipe to try. I have 5 plants this year, absolutely loaded with fruits.
I have 2 plants this year that are loaded with fruit, but they are very small (marble size). The ones I've seen in the store are much larger. The husks are splitting. Should I go ahead and start harvesting?
John, if the husks are splitting then the tomatillos won't be getting any larger. There are many different varieties of tomatillos, you may just have one of the smaller-fruited ones. I have 6 tomatillo plants (3 different types), and they vary in color & size.
Thought I'd report back on the taste testing we did this weekend with the two recipes of Tomatillo Salsa - the NCHFP recipe and the Ball recipe that's posted above. About 3 weeks ago, we had roughly 4 pounds of ripe tomatillos to process, so we made one batch of each.
At our neighborhood tomato tasting/picnic yesterday, I put out a jar of each, told people we were testing canning recipes in advance of the soon-to-be-ripe boatload of tomatillos and asked for their honest opinion (in other words, tell me what you REALLY think - I won't be offended in the least - and don't forget, this stuff will show up at Christmas so make sure you like it).
Hands down - the Ball recipe won. I even caught one guy licking the empty jar LOL. I opened another jar. And another. And then the last one.
One person's comment about the NCHFP sample was "I really thought it was a weird TexMex wannabe onion and pepper relish with too much lime in it".
I now have a lot of volunteer tasters for the next recipe test. It was a really great "icebreaker" to get people talking and laughing. Gosh, we had so much fun :-)
Thanks for the report back on your "taste test". I think I may be related to your neighbor..haha.. I have a bunch of tomatillos ready for canning but first I need to tackle the bushel of green beans the family picked yesterday.
Someone told me you can substitute tomatillos for tomatoes in safe salsa recipes is that true? Or is it green tomato (only) salsa recipes that you can substitute them?
Theoretically, you can substitute tomatillos for ripe tomatoes as their pH is lower (more acid) than tomatoes.
Practically speaking, the texture and moisture content of a tomatillo is more like a green tomato, so they give off about the same amount of liquid when cooking, which plays a role in the density (or soupiness) of a canning recipe, especially one that calls for ripe tomatoes (which supply a lot of liquid in themselves). The tartness is similar, too, and that does play a part in the flavorings you would add to a salsa.
If you have a recipe in mind, post it and I'm sure the experts will advise you if it is an appropriate substitution (and if the taste and quality of the finished product will be good).
I made the Ball Tomatilla Salsa recipe today. I added dried oregano as an extra herb. Doubled the recipe, blended with a stick blender and ended with 8 pints. Really like how it tastes.
How about something like Annie's salsa and roasted Tomatillas?
Just wasn't sure and did not want to be wrong. I did use Annie's salsa recipe and roasted the tomatillas but froze it instead as it didn't seem worth canning just one batch. None of my tomatoes made it last year!!! It tasted pretty good.
How about something like Annie's salsa and roasted Tomatillas?
It would probably be too dry. Any salsa recipe needs to be somewhat soupy when canned for proper heat penetration and Annie's Salsa is supposed to be made with ripe tomatoes and soupy. The couple who have made it with even paste tomatoes report it is too dry. Plus roasting changes the volume measurements.
I have a bunch too. I agree that after the husks split and dry, they won't grow any more, so harvest them.
I do plan to try the Ball Complete recipe for roasted Tomatillo and Chipotle salsa, but I also have this recipe. I love it and make the sauce in large batches then freeze it, for those times when I can't get tomatillos (which is about 95% of the time in my little town out here in the sticks). It's from Ann T at the Cooking Forum. I seldom use meat in them, I just like the sauce, but chicken is pretty good in there..
tacked Enchiladas -Ann T
Source: Southwest Cookbook
Here is the recipe Helene for the Stacked Enchiladas. I see no reason why you couldn't layer these over lapping in a lasagna pan and then slice to serve. You will have to double the ingredients for the sauce as well as the fillings.
Vegetable oil for frying
12 corn tortillas (6 inches)
1 1/2 cups (12 fl ounces) green Chili Sauce (recipe on page 195)
2 cups (8 ounces) grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cups finely chopped onion
Preheat oven to 350?F. Pour vegetable oil into a medium , heavy skilled to depth of 1/2 inch. Heat the oil over medium high heat to 375?F, or until a strip of tortilla browns in 60 seconds. Soften the tortillas, one at a time, for about 5 seconds per side in the hot oil and drain on paper towels.
Heat the green chili sauce in a shallow pan and dip each softened tortilla into the sauce. Place 1 coated tortilla on an oven proof plate and top with 1 tablespoons green cili sauce, 2 tablespoons grated cheese and 1 tablespoon chopped onion; repeat twice so that 1 serving contains 3 layered tortillas. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 4 tortilla stacks. Bake the stacks for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts.
NOTE: Add cooked chicken and or pinto or black beans between layers.
Green Chili Sauce
1 Jalapeno chili seeded and diced
1 garlic clove crushed
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 tomatillos, husked and diced (or use canned)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 new Mexico green or Anaheim chilies, roasted, peeled, cored, seeded and diced.
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a medium saucepan, place the jalapeno , garlic, green onions, tomatillos and chicken stock. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat' reduce heat and simmer until theliquid is reduced to about 1 cup about 15 to 20 minutes.
Pour the chicken stock misture into a blender or food processor.
Add the Anaheim chilies, cilantrol and lime juice; puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Add the cream and mix again. Serve warm. Keep 1 to 2 days refrigerated.
Had some leftover chicken and rice and decided to try using the Ball Tomatillo Salsa as a sauce for enchiladas. Took 2 pints and pureed it with the immersion blender.
Next time, we'll use a pint and a half for that size pan (4 burrito size flour tortillas in an 8X8 pan), but it was super good as a green enchilada sauce. The leftover sauce is going on pan fried bass (fresh caught) tonight.
Thought I'd post this, as I'm always getting ideas from how other folks use canned stuff and looking for more :-)
Yum, Malna, that looks delicious.
I just made the Roasted Tomatillo and Chipotle salsa from the Ball Complete book, and liked it very much. I'll make it again if I get more tomatillos before frost. I found the chipotles at a local Hispanic market but ended up subbing anchos for the cascabel, which I could not find.
Roasted Tomato-Chipotle Salsa
Makes about 6 (16 oz) pints
12 dried chipotle chili peppers, stemmed
12 dried cascabel chili peppers, stemmed
2 lbs husked tomatillos
2 lbs Italian plum tomatoes
2 small onions
1 head garlic, broken into cloves
1 cup white vinegar
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
6 (16 oz) pint glass preserving jars with lids and bands
1.) TOAST chipotle and cascabel chilies in a large dry skillet, over medium heat, working in batches, about 30 seconds per side, until they release their aroma and are pliable. Transfer to a large glass or stainless steel bowl. When all chilies have been toasted, add 2 cups hot water. Weigh chilies down with a bowl or a weight to ensure they remain submerged, and soak until softened, about 15 minutes. Working in batches, transfer chilies and soaking liquid to a blender or a food processor fitted with a metal blade and purÃÂ©e until smooth. Set aside.
2.) Roast tomatillos, tomatoes, onions and garlic, under a broiler, in the meantime, turning to roast all sides, until tomatillos and tomatoes are blistered, blackened and softened, and onions and garlic are blackened in spots, about 15 minutes. Set onions and garlic aside until cool. Place tomatillos and tomatoes in paper bags. Secure openings and set aside until cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Peel tomatoes, onions and garlic. Finely chop onion and garlic. Set aside.
3.) PUREE roasted tomatillos and tomatoes and reserved purÃÂ©ed chilies until smooth in a blender or food processor. Set aside.
4.) PREPARE boiling water canner. Heat jars and lids in simmering water until ready for use. Do not boil. Set bands aside.
5.) COMBINE tomatillo purÃÂ©e, roasted onion and garlic, vinegar, sugar and salt in a large stainless steel saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
6.) LADLE hot salsa into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Remove air bubbles and re-measure headspace. If needed, add more salsa to meet recommended headspace. Wipe rim. Center lid on jar. Apply band and adjust until fit is fingertip tight.
7.) PROCESS filled jars in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and cool. Check lids for seal after 24 hours. Lid should not flex up and down when center is pressed.
For the tomatillo sauce- does it matter what kind of green chilies I use? Can I use a mix of green jalapeÃÂ±os & Serrano? Also, any safety impact if I leave out the cilantro and just add it fresh when I open?
Does this sauce work well as a green enchilada sauce?
You can use whatever mix of peppers you like/have, just keep the total amount of peppers the same.
Yes, you can leave out the cilantro when you can it and add it fresh. It would probably have more flavor that way - I added it when I canned simply because I have some nice cilantro in the garden right now, and it is not always available here in Podunk Junction when I want it during the winter (and I always forget to freeze some when it's growing). The downside of living in a rural town :-)
It works great as a green enchilada sauce. I pureed ours after I opened the jar. It was really delicious.
Think I could just purÃÂ©e the tomatillo salsa prior to canning?
I did use a stick blender on mine prior to canning. It gets really runny, but that's pretty typical for a salsa verde (unroasted).
Thanks all for the list of recipes--did go with the Ball recipe (no peppers in mine, DH peppered his). Turned out lovely for my taste, though I did add a little bit of ground coriander to help the flavors a bit more without the peppers. Will have to give the enchiladas a try soon!
I did not puree it before I canned as that would change the density of the salsa, so I followed the recipe as written. Same scenario as regular tomato based salsa (aka Annie's) - puree it after you open it.
That safety issue aside, it's pretty darn good on chips still being chunky.
Mine turned out nice and thick as a sauce pureeing if after we opened it. We didn't have to thicken it at all.
Awesome, thanks, I will purÃÂ©e it after.
My tomatillo salsa doesn't have much liquid to it, that normal? I followed directions to a T. Taste damn good!
Mine is suitably soupy when I put it into the jars. It does thicken a lot after processing and cooling.
I was reading the other day that tomatillos have a lot of natural pectin, so that makes sense that it would "set". I was quite surprised when I opened the first jar and saw how thick it had become.
Ok cool- thanks. When I flip it over, it does move around just not as lose as a tomato based salsa would. This is my first experience with tomatillos. Was going to make another batch today, assuming I don't have a baby :) I'm due any day now! But because I used a mix of the peppers I had (Serrano & jalapeÃÂ±o) the salsa has a nice amount of heat and is very tasty!
Hm, the tomatillos might just have to wait :-)
Congratulations and keep us posted on the new addition.