Sunday, June 8, 2014

Purple Tomatillos

Physalis philadelphica - Purple tomatillo
Physalis philadelphica - Purple tomatillo

Tomatillos, Purple

Our purple tomatillos are finally becoming productive...  I read in a gardening forum that tomatillos in general can be quite the tease, leaving you wanting fruit for quite some time and then bursting with fruits.

We bought seeds for this particular variety, wanting to see if it was much different from Green Tomatillos.  We planted the seeds in February, and the vines grew a little in the following months.  Now, in the heat of June, where we are already getting temps in above 100F, the fruits are forming.  Finally!

Purple Tomatillo Flowers

In general, tomatillo plants have very interesting flowers.  Interesting to us and interesting to the ants, as seen
Physalis philadelphica - Purple tomatillo flower
Physalis philadelphica - purple
tomatillo flower with ants - formicidae
in this photo.  Last year, our tomatillo vine produce a great number of flowers and no fruits.  This year, we discovered that tomatillos require another plant in order to cross polinate, unlike so many other plants we have in our yarden.  So, if you want tomatillos, you have to buy at least two plants.  This year, the four purple tomatillos planted in one planter were slow to set fruit.  Then we planted multiple green tomatillos in another planter and now we are getting more fruits.

When To Pick Them?

Physalis philadelphica - Purple tomatillo
Physalis philadelphica - Purple tomatillo
We are uncertain when to pick the purple kind.
We've read that they should be picked when the husk splits.  Well...  the husk has split on one, but it is still green.  According to Bonnie Plants, no matter what the end color should be, all tomatillos should be picked when green to preserve the flavor and texture.  Since we have only one, we're waiting for it to change to purple and do a taste test for ourselves.  Perhaps there are more tomatillo applications than salsa?

Any recipe ideas and suggestions or advice on tomatillos are welcome!  We have been enjoying making our own salsas and enchilada sauce, but believe there must be more to do with these lovely tomatillos.