What Do Tomatillos Taste Like?


Quick Answer: What Do Tomatillos Taste Like? 

Tomatillos have a fresh lemon-like tart flavor with a bit of sweetness and earthy extracts. Raw Tomatillos can be acidic to taste but grow milder when ripe. The overall flavor is more of vegetable than fruit with slight citric essence.

This is a quick guide to what tomatillos exactly taste like.

Let’s get right into it. 

What Are Tomatillos?

Tomatillo is a fruit native to and largely harvested in Mexico.

Although the name translates to ‘little tomato’ in Spanish, it is certainly not a tomato. It is cultivated in the nightshade family of plants and is also known as Husk Tomatoes. 

They grow in small bunches and each tomatillo is found covered with a thin paper-like cover.

Here’s all you need to know about tomatillos!

What Do Tomatillos Taste Like?

Tomatillos have a tangy lemon-like flavor with some sweetness and an earthy impression. They taste very similar to green apples or unripe green tomatoes. But tomatillos remain firm and green even when fully grown and ripe. 

Once they are cut open, the inside is dense and not very aqueous with many tiny seeds. The flesh is a translucent light-green hue with cream-colored seeds.

Tomatillos can be green or have a purple hue depending on the soil they are grown on. Their taste, however, has minor changes with color.

Green tomatillos are the ideal ones with their tangy and fruity flavor but once they start to turn yellow, they begin to lose their salsa-like tang and are overripe.

Purple tomatillos tend to be slightly sweeter than both green and yellow ones. All types are suitable for classic Mexican cuisine.

What Is The Texture Of Tomatillo Like?

Tomatillos have a firm and solid external texture while the inside is also firm with thick flesh and small seeds. Cooked tomatillos tend to become softer but not completely mushy. They have the same acidic texture as green tomatoes with their characteristic sweetness. 

Grilling or roasting tomatillos is the easiest way to get rid of their acidic taste.

Cooked tomatillos made the best pulpy guacamole with its rich citric flavor and added seasonings.

Can You Eat a Raw Tomatillo?

Tomatillos can be eaten both raw and cooked. The outer husk covering the fruit called the calyx must be removed before it can be consumed whole. A raw tomatillo has a sticky residue once this husk is removed and should be scrubbed well in warm water before consumption.

Raw tomatillos are a great citric addition to salads, salsa, and dips.

Fresh tomatillos can also simply be fried and enjoyed. Adding them to salsa is best to enjoy their tartness.

Why Are Tomatillos Bitter?

Some tomatillos may turn out to be bitter and acidic because of the kind of soil they have grown on. When picking tomatillos, you should look for the smaller ones instead of the huge ones as those may be bitter. Smaller ones are said to be sweeter in comparison.

Since tomatillos are only picked once they are fully ripe and green, many tend to go for the bigger ones with more pulp but this pulp may not taste as flavorful.

Is Tomatillo a Gooseberry?

Both tomatillo and Gooseberry are parts of the same plant genus but they are not the same fruit. A major difference between the two is their size; fully grown tomatillos are usually larger than a fully grown gooseberry. Both have distinct acidic and citric flavors.

Tomatillos taste best when made into salsa or dressing while gooseberries taste best appetizers before a less-acidic main platter.

What Does Tomatillo Salsa Taste Like?

In a word, Tomatillo Salsa Verde is tart. It retains the characteristic sour and fruity taste of tomatillos. The salsa uses other ingredients like garlic, onion, chili peppers, cilantro, lime juice, and the optional addition of some sugar to balance out the intense acidity. 

The Tomatillo Salsa Verde usually remains pulpy with a soup-like consistency for one to be able to taste all the individual ingredients coming together.

Make your own Tomatillo Salsa Verde at home!  

Are Tomatillos Toxic? 

Unripe tomatillos can be toxic and extremely sour. It is recommended to wait till the fruits are fully ripe and green or violet before consuming them raw. The outer cover calyx and the leaves of the Tomatillo plant are also considered toxic. 

A fully grown and ripe tomatillo is citric but has hints of sweetness while an unripe tomatillo tastes too sour and acidic to be consumed raw.

The Raw fruit must also be well cleansed before eating it.

Know when your Tomatillos are ripe and ready!  

Do Green Tomatoes Taste Like Tomatillos?

Green tomatoes and tomatillos do have a similar flavor profile but they are not the same species of fruit. Minor differences in their taste are that tomatillos have an earthy, lemon, and apple-like taste, unlike green tomatoes.  

Both green tomatoes and tomatillos can be used as substitutes for each other with their similar texture and color.

Green tomatoes may need some lemon to taste like tomatillos when substituting.

What Is The Difference Between Tomatoes And Tomatillos?

Both tomato and tomatillos belong to the same plant genus but the biggest difference between them is that fully ripe tomatoes are red in color while fully ripe tomatillos remain green, the same as unripe tomatoes. 

Tomatillos are covered by a paper-like inedible casing called calyx which must be removed before consumption while tomatoes do not have any such cover.

What Tastes Best With Tomatillos?

Tomatillos taste best when consumed raw, as a fruit, garnish, or Salsa Verde dressing. Simple fried Tomatillos are also a famous dish in Mexico. Tomatillo soup is also another way to relish the citric and fruity flavors of Tomatillos.

These tangy fruits can also be mixed in with other fruits to make a nutrient smoothie, the perfect mix of sweet and sour. 

In The End 

I hope you enjoyed this flavorful journey. 

Do share this guide with your friends and family.  

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About Tammy J

Tammy is currently studying in college. While attending, she has broadened her horizons by experimenting with food from all over the world, but she has a special love for Mexican and Indian cuisine. She loves traveling with her friends, and enjoys nothing more than packing up a few backpacks and hitting the open road to explore natural beauty.