Juicy and tart, almost citrusy, the tomatillo has a surprisingly refreshing flavor and dense mouthfeel.
Tomatillos are a member of the nightshade family and although, they are sometimes referred to as green tomatoes they are in fact distinctively different from the tomato. They are also called husk tomatoes because like the cape gooseberry, they have a paper-like type of husk surrounding the outside. Tomatillos apparently originated in Central America and then made their way, in appropriate climates, around the globe. They have been part of human cuisine for thousands of years. Interestingly, while the tomatillo is relatively easy to grow once it is underway, it is the type of plant that requires several other plants for cross-pollination in order to reproduce and thrive.
From a culinary perspective, the tomatillo is a key ingredient in Mexican and Guatamalen cuisine. It is high in pectin, making it an awesome ingredient for sauces, stews, jams, jellies or other culinary endeavors that could use thickening. They are delicious eaten raw or added to raw to salads, salsas or pico de gallo’s.
I smashed up some tomatillo, lime, avocado with cilantro and made a delicious tomatillo/avocado ‘salsa’.
From a health perspective, tomatillos are an interesting source of nutrients. They are almost nutritionally closer to a berry than a tomato. High in minerals like potassium, iron, copper and manganese, tomatillos help balance cellular fluid; assisting in the regulation of blood pressure and cardiovascular health. They are also a good source of Vitamins A and C. Research demonstrates that tomatillos contain a chemical compound that is cancer preventive, especially in colon cancers. Studies also suggest that the bioactive compounds in tomatillos are effective in the prevention of diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. They also appear to aid in the repair of tissue in the gastrointestinal tract.
Seems to me that mixing up a nice little batch of tomatillo salsa, with some fresh garlic, onions, and cilantro can be a delicious way to support your health and well-being. Eat real food; not too much and not too little...