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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Tomatillo fruit grows in an inedible husk.

Fruit in a husk

Cathie Rowand/ The Journal Gazette
Yellow flowers on the tomatillo turn to husks after pollination

Every summer I grow something new in my vegetable garden that I don't know all that much about. This year's new adventure is the tomatillo plant.

I started my tomatillo plants from seed and was going to give each of my gardening friends a plant until I learned that the tomatillo plant needs more than one plant to pollinate. I ended up keeping all five plants and I am probably going to end up with more fruit than I know what to do with.

The plants were tiny and frail looking at first, but took off and grew 3 feet high in record time once I planted them outside. Now there are paper-like green husks with the fruit growing inside.

As the fruit matures, it fills the husk and then splits open by harvest. The husk turns brown and the fruit will either be yellow, red, green or purple when ripe. A green tomatillo will have a tangy flavor. The fully ripened yellow white and sometimes purple tomatillo is sweet.

Native to Mexico, the tomatillos are considered a staple in Mexican cooking, and the essential ingredient in green salsas. Looks like I will be making my own salsa this summer.

Journey through gardening season with Rosa Salter Rodriguez (feature writer) rsalter@jg.net, Anne Gregory (Web editor and writer) agregory@jg.net, Frank Noonan (copy editor) fnoonan@jg.net and Cathie Rowand (photographer) crowand@jg.net.

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