The tomatillo is a prevalent ingredient in Mexican and Latin American cuisines; it is this small fruit that gives many common Mexican foods, such as salsa verde, their characteristic tastes. Tomatillos ripen inside papery husks, which should be discarded before cooking. When selecting, look for small, firm tomatillos with brown, crisp husks. Reject tomatillos that have shriveled or black husks. Tomatillos are ripe when green, yellow or even purple; select green fruits for the traditional tart tomatillo taste and yellow tomatillos for a sweeter, more unusual flavor. Tomatillos can be consumed both raw and cooked.
Select a bowl that will comfortably hold all of your tomatillos, then place them into the bowl. Fill the bowl with warm water until the tomatillos are covered. Let them sit in the water for three to five minutes.
Take one tomatillo out of the bowl. Starting at the bottom of the tomatillo, pull back the husk, which will have been loosened by the water. Most of the fruit will become exposed, although the husk will probably still be anchored to the tomatillo at the stem.
Cut away the stem area with the paring knife. You don’t need to cut too deeply; simply cut far enough into the tomatillo to get to the hard stem area. Pull this out and the husk will come with it. Take the next tomatillo out of the bowl and remove its stem and husk.
Place all of your tomatillos in the colander once their stems and husks have been removed. Place the colander under cold running water and gently rinse them. Tomatillos have a sticky film under their husks, so continue rinsing until this sticky residue is gone.
Place your tomatillos on your cutting board. You can now begin to dice them. Don’t worry about removing the seeds; tomatillo seeds are generally included in tomatillo dishes.
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- You can store your tomatillos in the refrigerator for around two weeks. If you’d like them to last longer, you can de-husk your tomatillos and freeze them. After removing the husks, place the fruits into a plastic bag for storage. When you’re ready to use them, simply remove them and thaw if necessary.
- If you’re having difficulty removing the film from the tomatillo, you can try using a mild soap. Just be sure to thoroughly rinse the fruit before cooking with it.
Melissa Harr is a writer and knitting pattern designer with a range of publication credits. Her latest work includes blogging for Smudge Yarns, judging fiction for Ink & Insights 2015 and creating patterns for I Like Knitting magazine. Harr holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a CELTA.