Easy Tomato Cousins to Grow: Tomatillos

If you enjoy growing tomatoes, but want to grow something even easier and more relentless, tomatoes have a few cousins you might enjoy growing! I’m growing their two more “fruity” cousins this year (sunberries and ground cherries) and have tried a tomatillo in the past but made a very stupid mistake with it. This is the final of three posts about these cousins, featuring tomatillos.

I maybe have no business writing this because I have not grown tomatillos successfully, but this was due to a very simple mistake. The plant itself grew nicely, but none of the flowers set fruit, so I never tried it again. Several years later I finally found out that tomatillos need to pollinate each other, so a single plant won’t produce on its own.

If you’ve ever had salsa verde (verde is Spanish for green), it is likely made with tomatillos, not green tomatoes. To my knowledge one does not eat tomatillos raw. When I have purchased them in the past at the market, I have made salsa verde with cooked tomatillos, which is delicious.

I don’t love processing tomatillos however – while ground cherries usually come cleanly out of their husk, tomatillos have a lot of sticky substance under their husk which is somewhat annoying. But I don’t mind this to get a small batch of fresh salsa verde once or twice a summer!

I don’t know if I will try growing tomatillos again because I don’t have the space or the need for two plants, and I have heard that they are HEAVY producers. I don’t need multiple pounds of tomatillos, but I might try it again sometime for the novelty and can a bunch of salsa to share. I’m guessing they grow well in pots like their other cousins.

I hope you have enjoyed this series! If you are interested in growing any of these cousins next year, tomatillos seem to be fairly common at local greenhouses. As mentioned sunberries and ground cherries are harder to come by, but seeds can be purchased from Early’s in Saskatoon, or gifted from friends who grow them.

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