How to Prepare Tomatillos

Tomatillos are a fruit used extensively in Mexican cuisine. When fresh, they are sold in markets and are distinctive in their paper-like husks. The fruit itself is green and resembles a tomato in appearance. Tomatillos can be eaten raw or cooked and are a common ingredient in salsa. Tomatillo plants are easy to grow and adapt well to container gardening.

Things You'll Need

  • Tomatillos
  • Sharp knife
  • Saucepan
  • Water
Tomatillos for sale at farmer market
Tomatillos for sale at farmer market (Image: Bruce Block/iStock/Getty Images)

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Step 1

Remove the paper-like husk from the tomatillo by gently squeezing the top of the fruit toward the bottom of the husk and breaking it free.

Tomatillos fruit exposed from husk
Tomatillos fruit exposed from husk (Image: sally shintaffer/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 2

Wash the tomatillos in cool, running water to remove the stickiness from the skin.

Green Organic Tomatillos
Green Organic Tomatillos (Image: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 3

Use a sharp knife to remove the skin from the tomatillo, if desired. This step is not necessary but may make the fruit more aesthetically pleasing.

Tomatillos in a bowl
Tomatillos in a bowl (Image: Liza Daly/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 4

Chop the fruit into bite-sized chunks. Add raw to fresh tomato salsa recipes or substitute the tomato in the recipe with fresh tomatillos.

Tomatillos with salsa verde and chips
Tomatillos with salsa verde and chips (Image: bhofack2/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 5

Cook the tomatillo pieces in a small amount of water to create a tomatillo sauce that is perfect for pastas or dips. Season with salt, pepper and cilantro to taste, if desired.

Savory tomatillo pork chops
Savory tomatillo pork chops (Image: Richard Gunion/iStock/Getty Images)

Tips & Warnings

  • Purchase tomatillos with deep yellow or golden husks. Darker brown husks may signify older fruits.
  • Excess tomatillos can be frozen whole or sliced for later use.
  • Fresh tomatillos can be kept in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
  • Cooked tomatillos can be served as a side dish for a Mexican flair to any meal.
  • Tomatillos can usually be found fresh during the growing season of May to November. Tomatillos found during the winter months are generally imported from Southern Mexico and South America.
  • Tomatillos can also be canned. Follow the instructions for canning tomatoes. An average of 9 pounds of tomatillos are needed for a full canner load of pint jars. 14 pounds are needed for a canner load of quart jars.


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