Tomatillos grow and are sold encased in husks that resemble parchment paper lanterns. Under the husks, tomatillos look a lot like a green tomato, and like tomatoes they are classified as nightshades, but they are quite different in texture and taste. The skin and dense flesh feel almost sticky because of the high pectin content of the fruit. The flavor is tangy, with a hint of lemon/lime. They blend well with Mexican dishes, avocados, cilantro, peppers, and tomatoes.
nutritional profile of tomatillos.
Tomatillos are a good source of vitamins C and K, potassium, and niacin. As far as well-known nutrients go, tomatillos don’t pack much of a punch, but they are certainly a low calorie, low fat flavor addition to the diet. And while they can’t be quantified or validated, there are certainly health benefits in the phytonutrients offered by fresh, whole plant foods that you won’t find in any multivitamin. The nutrition facts displayed here are for 1 medium tomatillo (nutrient info. from the USDA nutrient database).
Look for tomatillos that are firm. They are harvested before they are ripe because they have the best flavor when they are not ripe. Unripe fruit is not soft unless it is damaged or otherwise spoiled. So a soft tomatillo = a bad tomatillo.
Tomatillos should be kept unhusked and unwashed in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. They don’t need a whole lot of moisture to stay fresh, so I keep them loose in the drawer rather than in a bag where the husks are more likely to get damp. They typically last for weeks this way, patiently waiting to be turned into something awesome.
To prepare tomatillos, peel off the inedible outer husk, rinse, and chop to suit your needs. Tomatillos can be eaten raw but are typically cooked to intensify their flavor. Try adding them to tomato-rich soups and casseroles to complement and add a unique flavor.
Head to the know your food page for a dynamic list of great tomatillo recipes or try my recipe for fresh tomatillo sauce.
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