What is the difference between a tomatillo and a green tomato?

Green tomatoes and tomatillos originate from distinct plants. Each fruit has its own unique properties in the kitchen.

The easiest way to tell them apart is to note that when a tomatillo is ripe, it remains a small, green fruit, and it grows inside a papery husk called a calyx. A green tomato, on the other hand, is the unripe fruit of any tomato plant. The fruit does not grown inside a papery husk, and it can be large or small and picked at any time throughout the summer or fall.


In a Nutshell: Tomatillos vs. Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes and tomatillos are different in flavor and usages as well, so we do not recommend substituting one for the other. Tomatillos are also juicier and less hard than green tomatoes, thus their texture is considerably different. Concentrate on choosing the best one for your recipe.

  • Grow inside an inedible paper husk.
  • Small and uniform in size.
  • Within the husk, the ripening fruit feels somewhat sticky to the touch.
  • Ripe fruit is most often seen in US grocery shops as green, although it may also be yellow or purple.
  • The unripe fruit of any variety of tomato.
  • Can be any size.
  • Always green.

Tomatillos are tiny, firm bright-green fruits (yes, fruits!) native to Mexico that are frequently referred to as Mexican green tomatoes or jamberries.

They grow within a papery husk, which should be removed and thrown before cooking. The surface of the fruit is coated in a slightly tacky residue and is easily washed off with a little warm water before proceeding with a recipe.

They’re most often used in salsas and sauces, but they may also be eaten raw. They’re available all year, mostly at South American grocery shops.

What Does a Tomatillo Taste Like?

Tomatillos have an acidic, bright, tart almost citrus flavor and can be used raw or cooked. They are the main component in salsa verde, which is widely offered in Mexican restaurants.

Tomatillos keep their vibrant green color and pungent taste when eaten fresh. To lighten it up, cut the fruits in half and roast them on a baking pan. The cooking procedure may dull the color and taste somewhat, but it will still deliver a powerful punch.

Combine them with chilies, garlic, cilantro, and lime to add a little heat and amp up the citrus and herbal notes in the fruit. Refrigerate the sauce or freeze cubes of it to use to soups and stews for a fast and simple flavor boost.

Green tomatoes are just the unripe, firm fruit of any tomato plant. They can be large or small depending the variety of the tomato (although don’t confuse them with a Green Zebra, a variety of tomato that stays green when ripe). The only thing that green tomatoes and tomatillos have in common is their color and hardness.

Green tomatoes are often offered in the autumn because lower temperatures prevent the tomatoes from ripening and changing color, however you may harvest green tomatoes off the vine at any time.

What Do Green Tomatoes Taste Like?

Green tomatoes, although solid, are not something you want to sink your teeth into like an apple. The taste is neutral leaning toward astringent, although the tartness mellows out with cooking.

How to Use Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes, unlike ripe tomatoes, keep their form when cooked and aren’t as watery.

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