As the cold draws in we’ve started to think about what to grow next year in the garden. We like to select a few of the more unusual crops each year and to grow plants that are new to us. There is a real fashion for new and exciting edible plants and it’s always fun to give these things a go. However we’ve had varying results, partly due to the climate – we are 400 miles north of London and this makes a real impact on what can be grown, and partly due to the quality of the resulting crop. Amongst other things we’ve tried asparagus peas (very pretty but not very tasty) and melons (total non-starter due to cold wet summer and slugs). Pleasingly, this year we have triumphed with a very successful crop of Tomatillos.
They can be treated in much the same way as tomatoes. We sowed the seed in April in a heated propagator. They are frost tender so we hardened them off and planted out in late May/ early June. Both the plants out in the garden and in the polytunnel produced good crops.
These green fruits are widely used in Mexican cuisine and are very popular across North America. They can be used in place of tomatoes in any cooked dish. One of our volunteers, Kate, found us a tasty recipe for Salsa Verde;
Tomatillo Salsa Verde
1 small chopped onion
1 good handful fresh coriander leaves
1 tbsp fresh lime juice (or cider vinegar)
¼ tsp sugar
2 jalapeno peppers or ½ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste
Remove tomatillos from papery husks and wash
Cut tomatillos in half and place cut side down on a foil lined baking sheet. Grill for 5 to 7 mins until skin slightly blackened
Place tomatillos with the other ingredients in a blender or food processor until finely chopped. Season with salt to taste.
Cool and serve
These attractive green papery lanterns are bound to be in the plan for next year, fingers crossed for another warm, dry (but not too dry!) summer to help them flourish.