From our September 20, 2010 newsletter:
Tomatillos are a small, green tomato that brings a refreshing punch to summer salsas or stews. Tomatillos are firmer are easier to slice than their red cousins. The flesh is slightly acidic, with a hint of lemon. As well as being juicy and delicious, the nutritional aspects of tomatillos may surprise you. One medium raw tomatillo contains only 11 calories. Yet is packs 91 mgs of potassium, 4 mgs of vitamin C, 2.4 mgs of calcium, 2.4 mgs of folic acid and 39 IU of vitamin A.
Why are these nutrients important? Potassium is essential for the proper functioning of the heart, kidneys, muscles, nerves, and digestive system. Calcium is essential to maintaining total body health. Your body needs it every day not just to keep your bones and teeth strong over your lifetime, but to ensure proper functioning of muscles and nerves. It even helps your blood clot. Vitamin C is well know for it’s immunity boosting properties, but it is also essential for the synthesis of collagen which is an important structural component of blood vessels, tendons, ligaments and bones. Vitamin A is also important to your body’s immune system. Folic Acid is one of the B vitamins (B9) and is necessary for the production of red blood cells. It is also needed to help maintain normal metabolism. Folic Acid is critical for pregnant women as it can prevent the occurrence of birth defects.
Preparing tomatillos is easy. The husks must be removed before preparing, but left in the husk they are often used as decoration. Be sure to wash the fruit with soap and water to remove any of the film that may be left by the husk. Tomatillos can be used raw in salsas or salads, or cooked for sauces or stews. Cooking enhances the flavor and softens its skin, but the result is a soupy consistency since the fruit collapses quickly after it is heated. To cook tomatillos, you can either roast them in the oven, or boil them. Roasting them will deliver more flavor; however, boiling them maybe faster. Either way will work for most recipes, boiling is the most common way tomatillos are cooked.
Fresh tomatillos with the husk still intact may be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. They are best stored in a paper bag. Tomatillos last a week longer in the refrigerator if the husks are removed and the fruit is placed in sealed plastic bags. Tomatillos may also be frozen after removing the husks.