Friday, 14 December 2007


The Tomatillos are back!
Some of the best plants in the garden self-seed every year. The first emergence of these "weeds" are like old friends returning for a visit. The lovage has bounced back even after planting out their bed with pinot noir, but they can stay put for a few years while the vines develop. Purslane will provide green mulch throughout the garden as well as many tasty salads and accompaniments to seafood and yabbies. Many more edible weeds continue to emerge.
I have been fascinated with the nightshades or solanacea for many years and collect as many examples as I can . Check out the Masterclass notes at

Tomatillos are one of the most forgiving and tasty members of this extra-ordinary family. They belong to the husk-tomato or physalis group of which the most common member in Australia is the Cape Gooseberry

I cannot understand why Tomatillo are not grown more for the commercial market. They survive both a light frost and dry conditions.
Tomatillos are the basis of many Mexican dishes have a crisp texture and an alluring flavour that is unique. The flavour develops on cooking, one of the best ways to use them is for a Salsa Verde.
Quite different from Italian version, this classic hot sauce brings out the wonderful flavour of the tomatillo.
Tomatillos, Garlic, Serrano chillies, coriander, onions, lime juice.
Cook them like you would a hot tomato sauce, there is no need to remove the skins as they will melt into the sauce.

The hardest thing about this sauce is finding the Tomatillos, but in Melbourne Cameron Russell's old stall at the Victoria market just outside the deli section is good bet. If not just grow some, there is still time to plant. Seeds are available from New Gipplsland seeds, Eden Seeds and many other specialist seed merchants.

Ground Cherries
the plant below is a ground cherry also another physalis . This one has the most delicate flavour, a hint of mellow sweetness with a gentle overtone of Vanilla. I see today that its also back in the garden but its not as prolific as the Tomatillos this year.

Last years bounty of Tomatillo

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Phil said...

Welcome to food blogging.

I also had the happy accident of tomatillos self-seeding in my tiny backyard in Melbourne - they seem to be invincible plants.

Sunnybrae and all who sail in her said...

Good stuff. Have you tried making a guacamole using chunky pieces of avocado with the tomatillo cut the same way?

purple goddess said...

ground cherries..

I am blessed with a Greek neighbour who grows these. She picks them, warm from the vine and pops them into my mouth, while we sit in the sun drinking her husband's home made wine.

They are warm and dusky sweet, and always accompanied by admonishments to "eat!!! eat!!!"