annie1992October 4, 2012

My first year growing tomatillos, and I'm pretty happy. We're supposed to get our first frost here tomorrow night, so I picked two big bowls of them, I'll make Ann T's green enchiladas this weekend.

That's the lovely little appetizer plate that doucanoe made and gifted me with at the Michigan Run, isn't it lovely?

I wish I'd planted earlier, but three plants have provided me with two big 3 quart bowls overflowing with tomatillos, so I'm happy.

I'm going to try to make the green sauce for the enciladas and freeze it in serving size portions, so I can have them whenever I want. There are no tomatillos for sale here in my small grocery, I've never even seen one here, so I just grew my own.


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I am hoping my tomatillos will soon fill out the husks.....not the best year here.
Usually they grow like weeds.
I Anaheim chiles did very well so they are roasted, skinned an frozen for homemade chile verde when the tomatillos get ready.
I love green salsa, too.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:06PM
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I'm jealous!!! I can buy tomatillos here, but I would love to grow some.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 9:08PM
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Buy a really overripe one and throw it in your garden when the soil starts to warm.....

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 10:30PM
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Aren't they pretty. I love tomatillos and Ann's enchilada recipe.


    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 10:33PM
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I love tomatillos but never thought to grow them, since that would be a lot more expensive (for me, the way I grow things!) than buying them. I pretty much only make a green salsa with them, and I use that when I make guacamole. I serve the green salsa with chips also and have it as a condiment at the table and use it when I make tacos or migas. I do consider green salsa to be a staple condiment, however.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 11:56AM
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We love tomatillos but I can't seem to grow them. Maybe, I'll try again next year (?). Yours look great, Annie. Do you think it was that this year's weather was so hot and dry? They are so darn expensive at Whole Foods ($4.99/lb.) and that's the only place they are available here. Whenever they are in stock we buy all they have and adjust our shopping list to allow for the cost because I make so much Mexican food.

Lars, I also use tomatillos in posole, a stable soup around here - very good!


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:17PM
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Tomatillos are usually easy to grow. They are relatives of tomatoes and are grown the same way. They are trouble free as they don't have all the leaf diseases tomatoes have.

If you grow tomatillos once, you probably will have volunteers for ever after. Just be alert to the volunteers when they appear and relocate them to where you want them.

The plants get large, so give them 3 feet or more of space and stake them or use tomato cages.

Sometimes they are slow to set fruit. Be patient. When they start to bear you will have lots.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:33PM
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Jim, why do you suppose I can't grow them? Maybe, I'm getting frustrated and not giving them enough time to set fruit? No, I would NEVER be impatient! rofl We use so many I'd glady ask DH to dig a few daylilies to have room for the tomatillos.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:39PM
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I would encourage you to try again, Tricia. If you can grow tomatoes you can grow tomatillos.

Concerning their seeming failure to set fruit, it's a common problem. Each year, when August comes around, gardeners on the Vegetable Growing and Tomato forums start posting that their tomatillos aren't fruiting. I've experienced it myself. But then, a little later, they suddenly are loaded with fruit.

Good luck.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 2:08PM
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At least two tomatillo plants are needed (at least in my area) in order to set fruit.
I bought only one plant early in the season and it bloomed and bloomed. I finally planted several more.....lots of fruit setting.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 5:04PM
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I have three and I planted them against the pool fence. Good thing, I didn't know that the vines would be as tall as I am!

I got the little "lanterns" long before there was any fruit, I had nearly given up when they finally fruited. Fortunately the plants are pretty, so I just shrugged and left them there.

If I had another month, though, I'd have gottten twice as many fruits. AS it is, I got about 1/4 bushel off three plants and they are loaded with "lanterns". Frost tonight, of course.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:18PM
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Sorry, I had to quickly go cover the bok choy, as soon as I typed "frost", I realized I'd better get moving!

Lars, you should try growing some, I think they'd do wonderfully for you. The vines are pretty with yellow flowers and the "lanterns" are very interesting, even before they set fruit. Be sure to give them something to climb, though, I didn't realize how much they were vines and only luckily planted them along the pool fence.

Tricia, I can't give you any advice, this is the first year I've grown them. Ann T sent me some seeds several yeras ago and I planted them, but it was a cold and wet summer with frost in early September, so they didn't grow well. I don't really even know what they do like, I just got lucky this time. Heck, I don't even know what variety they are, the plants were on close out at the farmer's market in June.

Jim, I know that I read several forums and people had problems with setting fruit, so I wasn't optimistic. I was very pleasantly surprised with these, though.


    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 10:11PM
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They resemble ground cherries, but are much bigger.
But are they as sweet?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 8:58AM
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No, tomatillos and ground cherries are different. Tomatillos are a staple of Mexican cuisine. They are used extensively in green salsas and sauces. They taste sorta like a green tomato, but better, IMO.


Here is a link that might be useful: Wiki - Tomatillo

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 10:56AM
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I got this many tomatillos from three plants:

So this:

Became 6 pints of Ann T's green enchilada sauce in the freezer and one in the refrigerator:

And this for supper, thanks to Ann T's recipe!

I hope the stuff freezes well...


    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 9:49PM
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Annie, it does freeze very well.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2012 at 6:35AM
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Where can I get Ann T's recipe for enchilada sauce with tomatillos....I just harvested a LOT of tomatillos and would like to keep enjoying them this winter. Thanks

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 12:53PM
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Hey girl they look great against your pool fence! No covering for you? Could give you a week or so more, no? But I suppose if the days are cool, then the tomatillos will probably just languish. I do like to cover my annuals though, since the frost always seems to come just when they get their second wind!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 1:47PM
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lpink, we had a hard freeze last week while I was staying with Bud and Makayla, so I wasn't home to cover anything. I'm amazed, though, I still have bok choy and fennel which didn't even blink, and the artichokes also survived it. I know they are a perennial in warmer climates, but I expected the first light frost to kill them.

cbjohn, I really like this recipe, I sometimes add chicken but I'm pretty happy with no meat in it at all. It looks long but goes together much faster than you'd think. It's very forgiving, I've used all jalapenos instead of the New Mexico chilies, I've just dipped the enchiladas in the green sauce and not fried them, I've used milk instead of cream. They always come out well anyway. I usually start the sauce and then keep it hot on the stove while I prep the tortillas. The notes are Ann T's.

Stacked Enchiladas -Ann T
Source: Southwest Cookbook

Here is the recipe, Helene, for the Stacked Enchiladas. I see no reason why you couldn't layer these over lapping in a lasagna pan and then slice to serve. You will have to double the ingredients for the sauce as well as the fillings.

Vegetable oil for frying
12 corn tortillas (6 inches)
1 1/2 cups (12 fl ounces) green Chili Sauce (below)
2 cups (8 ounces) grated Monterey Jack or Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cups finely chopped onion

Preheat oven to 350F. Pour vegetable oil into a medium , heavy skilled to depth of 1/2 inch. Heat the oil over medium high heat to 375F, or until a strip of tortilla browns in 60 seconds. Soften the tortillas, one at a time, for about 5 seconds per side in the hot oil and drain on paper towels.

Heat the green chili sauce in a shallow pan and dip each softened tortilla into the sauce. Place 1 coated tortilla on an oven proof plate and top with 1 tablespoons green cili sauce, 2 tablespoons grated cheese and 1 tablespoon chopped onion; repeat twice so that 1 serving contains 3 layered tortillas. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 4 tortilla stacks. Bake the stacks for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese melts.

NOTE: Add cooked chicken and or pinto or black beans between layers.

Green Chili Sauce

1 Jalapeno chili seeded and diced
1 garlic clove crushed
1/4 cup chopped green onions
4 tomatillos, husked and diced (or use canned)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 new Mexico green or Anaheim chilies, roasted, peeled, cored, seeded and diced.
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon heavy cream
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, place the jalapeno , garlic, green onions, tomatillos and chicken stock. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat' reduce heat and simmer until theliquid is reduced to about 1 cup about 15 to 20 minutes.
Pour the chicken stock misture into a blender or food processor. Add the Anaheim chilies, cilantrol and lime juice; puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper. Add the cream and mix again. Serve warm. Keep 1 to 2 days refrigerated.

Servings: 4

I hope you enjoy them. Make them as hot or as mild as you like. I think this last batch of sauce is a bit too mild, so I'll add some more heat when I thaw it for use.


    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 11:29PM
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Those look beautiful! I've never grown them, but every supermarket here has them all the time.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 1:53PM
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