We were talking about tomatillos the other day, and then we got all distracted by plums and flowers. The world this time of year will do that to you. Summer! Bounty! It’s hard to stay focused, and why would you even want to? But we’re coming back to tomatillos because they’re delicious. And they’ve been beckoning. This weekend, I was at Tacombi, the restaurant on Elizabeth Street with a VW truck inside that sells tacos. Tomatillos and awesomeness are the two reigning spirits of that place. I got home and rushed right out to check on my tomatillo plants. They’re still in the flowering stage, no fruit. But SOON. And when they come, they’re going to be purple, just like those beauties above. And then, I will make the world’s prettiest purple salsa.
If you’re deciding which kind of tomatillo you’d like to grow, here’s a guide to the major varieties on the market. There are three big types. Let’s start with those purple gems.
- They’re called Purple Di Milpa. They grow wild in Mexico (which sounds awesome). The fruit is typically smaller than the fruit of green varieties, and the flavor is sweeter but also with a sharper punch than your average tomatillo. Oh yeah, and THEY’RE PURPLE.
- Toma Verde is your standard green variety. That sounds boring, but tomatillos, even “standard variety” ones, are emphatically not boring. The plusses of the Toma Verde are many. These plants produce a lot of fruit, so you’ll have plenty of salsa verde to go around. They also mature more quickly, as quickly as 60 days in fact. That’s two months to tacos.
- Last but not least, we have Verde Puebla. This variety is green as well, and like Toma Verde, they tend to produce plenty of fruit. But the fruit is bigger. Less husking, more eating — definitely great if you’re chopping your tomatillos into salsa. If you’re popping them raw, however, you might prefer a more delicate mouthful.
Naturally, I’ll give you the full report when tomatillo harvest time hits around here. And just in case you were curious in the meantime, I present to you: tomatillo flowers.