Like a gift-wrapped tomato.

Tomatillos were domesticated by the Aztecs of Mexico, and they remain a culinary staple in Mexico to this day. Europeans had trouble domesticating them back home, instead favoring its brother, the tomato, which thrived around the Mediterranean Sea. Tomatillos are commonly used to make salsas verde, blended with chilies into tart, spicy sauces. They are also eaten fried, roasted and steamed, more rarely raw unless blended into salsa.

Within the tomatillo’s dull, papery, inedible husk hides a tart, green fruit; there are also red, purple and yellow varieties. Tomatillos have a high natural pectin content, making them traditional favorites for jam. (Tomatillos are also known as “jamberries”.)

Choose smaller tomatillos for the most sweetness. The fruit should be firm, slightly sticky and without blemishes when unwrapped.


Fully ripe tomatillos will keep for several weeks in the refrigerator. They also take well to freezing, especially when used for salsa — just remove the husks and place them in a freezer bag.