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Store tomatillos in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. If the tomatillos are fresh, they will store up to two weeks in good condition. However, like any fresh vegetable, they should be used soon after purchase.

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Origins and Culture

The tomatillo has its roots deeply planted in the ancient Aztec culture. It's even possible that the tomatillo, which means little tomato in Spanish, came from Central and South America and was cultivated in Mexico by the Aztecs before the tomato arrived.

What makes the tomatillo unique in appearance is its paper-like cellulose husk that resembles the shape of a small green lantern that hangs downward from the bushy, annual plant on which it grows. Inside the protective husk is a plump, firm variety of tomato that is usually picked green. The husks turn a greenish brown when the fruit is losing its freshness.

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Nutritional and Medicinal Properties

Tomatillos are highly nutritious. One medium raw tomatillo contains only 11 calories, yet it packs 91 mg. of potassium. That same little fruit contains 4 mg. of vitamin C, 2.4 mg of calcium, 2.38 mg. of folic acid, and 39 IU of vitamin A. Imagine the benefits if you include several in your recipe!

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Basic Cooking Instructions

With their dense, highly seeded interior, tomatillos burst with a distinctive tart, lemony flavor that makes them the perfect ingredient in Mexican dishes such as Salsa Cruda, a fresh salsa dish, as well as Salsa Verde, a cooked green sauce used in many Mexican dishes. Tomatillos also contain a pectin-like substance that thickens sauce or salsa upon refrigeration.

To prepare tomatillos, remove the cellulose husks and wash the tomatillos thoroughly. You'll notice they have a slightly sticky surface. This is normal. Tomatillos can be chopped and added to any salads. They make an excellent addition to a raw soup when you want that tangy, lemony touch. Begin with just 1 tomatillo in the blender along with your other soup ingredients, and taste. Add more as needed.

Make your own Salsa Cruda with chopped tomatillos, chopped tomatoes, chopped onions, chopped jalapeno, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and a touch of salt.

Tomatillos can be briefly stir fried in a little olive oil, vegetable broth, or water. They have a high water content so don't add too much liquid. Cook along with some onions, garlic, and bell peppers for a tasty side dish. Season with salt and pepper.

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