Tremendous Tomatillos

Tremendous Tomatillos

Tomatillos are tomatoes’ more wild green cousin. Their plant resembles a tomato plant with sprawling vines that need to be trellised, but tomatillos remain green when ripe, sometimes with a yellow blush or a little purple stain on their flesh. The fruits grow in a loose papery skin similar to that of Chinese lanterns or ground cherries. Their flavor is bright and tart with a slightly sweet, natural citrus flavor. Tomatillos are the backbone of Mexican green salsas (also known as salsa verde), perfect for enchilada sauce, and great in place of tomatoes or citrus with roasted pork dishes. 

We grow a couple different varieties of tomatillos selected for large size and optimal production, but they are essentially the same. CSA members will receive tomatillos 2-3 times during the season as part of green salsa “kits” (or alongside tomatoes as they pair nicely). Tomatillos generally start producing in July and last until late August. You can expect them at market around that time. We think early August is the best season for green salsa making because tomatoes aren’t at peak yet so you have time to prioritize them! 

Storage tips 

Tomatillos store for a shockingly long amount of time in your fridge. If you leave them in their husks and store them in a plastic bag in the vegetable drawer of your fridge, they will easily keep for a couple weeks. You can also store them in a bowl on the counter for a full week. For longer storage, remove the green husk and store in a loose bag, checking weekly for soft fruit. 

Long-term storage

Tomatillos are a great candidate for long-term storage, and that is wonderful because when they ripen, they come on strong (in a massive abundance!) and they’re not a vegetable that is especially easy to eat a lot of at a time. 

There are three main ways we tend to preserve tomatillos:

Freeze whole

This is by far the easiest option, especially if you are short on time in summer. To freeze tomatoes, all you need to do is remove the husks, wash them, and stuff the fruits into freezer bags for winter use. 

You can also do a little more prep if you have the time. After washing, core them and cut them into halves or quarters to freeze on a baking sheet. Once frozen, pack into freezer bags or other containers.

Freeze salsa verde 

Salsa verde (and pretty much any salsa) freeze surprisingly well. The texture will turn a little bit more mushy than regular canned salsa, but not so much that is noticeable, especially if you plan to use the salsa verde in a cooked preparation. 

We’ve provided five different variations on salsa verde below and in our experience the Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, Homemade Green Enchilada Sauce, and Roasted Tomato & Tomatillo Salsa all freeze quite well. We pack them into wide-mouth pint mason jars or plastic deli containers for easy thawing and single meal use. The pico de gallo and avocado salsa won’t hold up as well so we recommend eating those fresh. 

Can salsa verde or whole tomatillos

Salsa verde can also be easily canned in a water bath canner because of the high acidity level. We wouldn’t recommend any of the recipes we provided for canning (as they were not tested for canning), but any basic food preservation book will have a batchable recipe to help you do many jars at a time. We love Put ‘Em Up! and the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.

Salsa recipes!

Tomatillos are almost always utilized in some sort of Mexican preparation. Traditionally in a salsa verde (roasted tomatillo salsa), green enchilada sauce, or other type of salsa (like a fresh pico de gallo or blended salsa with part tomato/part tomatillo). We’ll include our favorite recipe for each below plus a few items for how to use them.

Photo by: Frontera

Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Recipe by: Frontera

Yield: 1-1/2 cups
Time: 30 minutes


12 ounces (6-8) medium tomatillos, husked and rinsed

3 or 4 garlic cloves, unpeeled

Fresh hot green chiles (start with a large serrano or small jalapeño, but feel free to use any fresh chile), stemmed

Fresh cilantro (start with 6 or 8 sprigs)

1/2 medium white onion



  1. Roast ingredients: Though most people in Mexico roast ingredients for this salsa on a comal (griddle), I find it easiest to roast them under a broiler.  Spread the tomatillos, unpeeled garlic and chiles on a rimmed baking sheet and roast about 4 inches below a hot broiler (my toaster oven is perfect for this) until the tomatillos and chiles are blotchy brown on one side, about 6 minutes, then turn everything over and roast the other side.  The garlic should feel soft. 
  2. Cool and blend: Cool until handleable, slip the peels off the garlic, then scrape everything (including any juices) into a blender or food processor and pulse until you have pureed it to your liking—I like the salsa best when it’s smoothish, but still has some texture.  
  3. Finish and season: Gather the cilantro into a tight bundle and thinly slice across it (leaves and stems) until you run out of leaves. Chop the onion into about ¼-inch pieces.  For the freshest flavor, rinse in a strainer under cold water to get rid of that unpleasant “oniony” flavor.  Shake off excess water and add to the salsa along with the cilantro.  If the salsa is too thick to spoon easily, stir in water a tablespoon at a time until the salsa seems right to you. Taste and season with salt, usually a scant teaspoon.  Because most ingredients are roasted, it’s harder to add more of one or the other of them to the finished salsa—except, of course, for cilantro and onion.

Photo by: The Flavor Bender

Homemade Green Enchilada Sauce

Recipe by: The Flavor Bender

Yield: ~3 cups
Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes


2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed

6 poblanos

4 jalapenos, leave out the seeds if you want it milder

2 medium red onions, peeled and quartered

Olive oil

Salt to taste

8 garlic cloves

1/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Handful of cilantro leaves and stems

1 lime for lime juice

1 teaspoon sugar

Mojo Stock

1 cup chicken stock or vegetarian stock

2 tablespoons lime juice

¼ cup orange juice

½ teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground coriander

3 cilantro roots washed (optional)

Roasted Tomatillo Enchilada Sauce

2 tablespoons flour or 1½ teaspoon cornstarch

1 tablespoon oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 °F. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil and brush it with some oil.
  2. Place the tomatillos, poblano peppers, jalapenos, and onion on the lined baking sheet. Drizzle some oil on top and a generous sprinkling of salt and toss to mix and coat evenly. Wrap oil-coated garlic cloves in a small piece of foil and place it on the baking sheet as well.
  3. Roast the tomatillos in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes, flipping them once halfway through. The time is a guideline – the tomatillos and peppers should be roasted until there is a nice char on them, and are softened.
  4. While salsa ingredients are roast, place Mojo Stock ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring the stock to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower the heat and allow the stock to simmer for about 20 – 30 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  5. When the salsa ingredients are done roasting, remove the stems from the poblano and jalapeno peppers (de-seed the jalapeno peppers if you prefer a mild salsa verde). Unwrap the softened garlic cloves from the foil and let them cool. 
  6. Place the roasted tomatillos, poblano, jalapeno, garlic, onion, cumin, cilantro, sugar and lime juice in a food processor. Pulse until everything is evenly chopped. Taste and add more lime juice if needed, and season with salt. Set aside. 
  7. Place the oil or butter in a nonstick saucepan and heat over medium heat. When heated, add the flour (or cornstarch) and mix well to create a roux. Stir for a few minutes until the flour is cooked and forms a paste. 
  8. Add the mojo stock / regular stock into the saucepan and bring it to a simmer and let it thicken. Stir in the salsa verde and heat through. Add salt and lime juice to taste (and extra stock if you need to thin it out).

Photo by: Bon Appetit

Green Pico de Gallo

Recipe by: Bon Appetit

Yield: 8 servings
Time: 15 minutes + 1 hour to chill


8 ounces tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed, cut into ¼-inch pieces

¼ medium red onion, finely chopped

2 jalapeños, seeds removed, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely grated

3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon finely chopped mint

Kosher salt


  1. Toss tomatillo, onion, jalapeños, garlic, lime juice, cilantro, and mint in a small bowl to combine; season with salt. Cover and chill for 1 hour to allow flavors to come together.

Photo by: Mexican Please

Roasted Tomato and Tomatillo Salsa

Recipe by: Mexican Please

Yield: 2 cups
Time: 30 minutes


2 roma tomatoes

4-5 tomatillos

1/3 small onion

1 garlic clove

1-2 jalapenos (or serranos)

10-12 sprigs cilantro

Pinch of salt

Squeeze of lime


  1. Husk the tomatillos and then rinse both the tomatoes and tomatillos. I usually remove the stems from both of them knowing that any juices leftover in the roasting pan will go into the blender.
  2. Roast the tomatoes and tomatillos in a 400F oven for 20-25 minutes. 
  3. Add the roasted tomatoes and tomatillos to a blender along with 1/3 small onion, 1 peeled garlic clove, 1 rinsed and de-stemmed jalapeno (or less for a milder version), 10-12 sprigs rinsed cilantro. Combine well (I usually leave it a bit chunky.)
  4. Take a taste for seasoning. I added another 1/2 jalapeno, a pinch of salt, and a generous squeeze of lime.
  5. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge for a bit before serving.  
  6. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge where they will keep for a few days. 

Photo by: NYTimes Cooking

Avocado and Roasted Tomatillo Salsa

Recipe by: NYTimes Cooking

Yield: 2 cups
Time: 25 minutes


1 pound tomatillos, husked

1 to 2 serrano chiles (to taste), stems removed

1 medium garlic clove, unpeeled

1 slice white or red onion

½ cup chopped cilantro, with stems

1 medium avocado

Salt to taste


  1. Heat a heavy cast-iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat. Place tomatillos in pan and toast until charred on 1 side, about 10 minutes for a medium or large tomatillo. The color in the middle should be fading from pale green to olive. Turn tomatillos over and continue to grill until charred on the other side, about 10 minutes, but not for so long that they burst. Transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
  2. Place chile(s), garlic clove and onion slice in skillet and toast, turning often, until chile is lightly charred and garlic is charred in spots and softened. The onion should be lightly colored on both sides but not charred black (that will make it bitter). Remove from heat. Peel the garlic and transfer, with the onion and chiles, to a blender. Add tomatillos and any liquid that may have accumulated in the bowl.
  3. Add remaining ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Taste, adjust seasoning, and serve.

Use your salsa verde (or enchilada sauce or other salsa) for:

  • Enchiladas, obviously, and anything in that category- tacos, burritos, rice bowls, tamales, tostadas, chips & salsa, quesadillas, you get the picture 
  • Chicken stew or pork stews served over rice
  • Chilaquiles or green migas
  • Sheet pan nachos
  • Serving over roasted root vegetables in winter to brighten them up

And a few other things you can make with your tomatillos…

Photo by: All Recipes

Tomatillo Pork Roast

This is a favorite recipe from our farmer friends at We Grow Farm north of Medford! It also turns out great with venison (just add a bit more oil). The acidity of the tomatillos tenderizes the meat until it’s falling apart, melting the marbled fat. The resulting meat can be eaten as is but we love to use it in carnitas and enchiladas topped with lots of fresh salsa, sour cream and extra cilantro. Oftentimes we puree the drippings along with the cooked down tomatillos for a rich green sauce. Excellent served with warm tortillas, avocado, lettuce, tomato, cilantro, and sour cream.

Yield: 8-10 servings
Time: 4 hours, 30 minutes


1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (3 to 4 pounds)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon canola oil

15 tomatillos (1 to 2 lbs) husks removed, chopped

2 green chili peppers (choose type based on your own heat preference)

1 medium onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved

1 cup white wine

6 cups chicken broth


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (120 degrees C)– note, recipe can also be cooked on the stovetop on low or in a crock pot.
  2. Sear roast in Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add remaining ingredients and roast for four hours.
  3. Shred and enjoy as suggested above.

Photo by: Bon Appetit

Pan con Tomatillo

Recipe by: Bon Appetit

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes


16 medium tomatillos (about 1½ pounds), husks removed, rinsed, quartered

4 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 ciabatta loaf

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 garlic cloves, finely grated

2 small green tomatoes, thinly sliced (optional)

Flaky sea salt


  1. Toss tomatillos, kosher salt, and sugar in a small bowl. Gently massage until they feel soft and juicy. Cover and let sit at room temperature, tossing occasionally, until tomatillos have released some of their liquid, at least 4 hours and up to 12 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 300°. Holding a bread knife parallel to a cutting board, slice ciabatta in half. Slice each piece in half lengthwise, then cut each strip on a diagonal into about 4″ pieces. Drizzle 3 Tbsp. oil over bread and rub each piece to evenly distribute oil. Place bread on a baking sheet and bake until browned all over and dried out and crisp, 60–75 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Meanwhile, transfer tomatillos to a food processor; leave juices in bowl. Pulse until finely chopped but not smooth (mixture should look pulpy with bits of skin). Transfer to a medium bowl; add garlic.
  4. Spoon tomatillo mixture over toast, then drizzle some of the reserved juices over. Top with green tomatoes, if using; drizzle with oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Photo by: Love & Lemons

Cucumber Tomatillo Gazpacho

Recipe by: Love & Lemons

Yield: 4 servings
Time: 30 minutes


1 pound tomatillos (8 medium)

¼ white onion

2 whole unwrapped garlic cloves

¼ to ½ jalapeño pepper

¼ cup olive oil, more for drizzling

½ English cucumber, chopped

½ cup packed cilantro

2 tablespoons lime juice

½ to 1 teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon honey or pure maple syrup

¼ cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt

Yogurt Drizzle

¼ cup plain whole milk Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon lime juice

2 teaspoons water

Pinch of sea salt

Optional Garnishes

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Kernels from 1 ear of corn, lightly charred

1 cup finely diced cucumber

½ cup yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

Fresh herbs (mint or cilantro)


  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. On a plate or small baking sheet, toss the tomatillos, onion, garlic, and jalapeño with drizzles of olive oil and a few pinches of sea salt. Wrap the garlic cloves in a piece of foil and place all the vegetables directly on the grill. Grill 4 to 5 minutes per side, or until the tomatillos are soft, charred, and just starting to burst, and the onion and jalapeño are charred and soft. Remove from the grill and unwrap the garlic. Let cool, then chill completely. (This step can be done in advance.)
  2. In a blender, combine the chilled tomatillos, onion, garlic, ¼ of the jalapeño pepper, ¼ cup of olive oil, cucumber, cilantro, lime juice, ½ teaspoon salt, honey, and the yogurt. Blend until smooth. Season with more salt, if desired (I add ½ teaspoon). Taste and add the remaining jalapeño, if desired, for more spice. Chill the soup until ready to serve.
  3. Make the yogurt drizzle: In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, lime juice, water, and a pinch of sea salt.
  4. Serve the soup with the yogurt drizzle and any desired garnishes.

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