July 24, 2017

All Wrapped Up

Tomatillo

Janine Pineo Photo - Tomatillo

If you’ve had salsa verde, you’ve had tomatillo, or Physalis philadelphica, a member of the nightshade family. A bit foreign in most Maine gardens, tomatillos are easy to grow and recognizable for the papery husk that envelopes the fruit as it matures. This Mexican native needs two or more plants to set fruit, and in a good year with the right conditions, just two or three plants can set dozens of fruit, sprawling about if not supported. It can also self-seed if fruit are left in the garden at harvest’s end. Tomatillo is also known as the husk tomato, but it is not a tomato, just a relative. If you can grow tomatoes, you can grow the tomatillo, too.