Tomatillos Are Not Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes and tomatillos may look similar, and are distant cousins from the nightshade or Solanaceae family, which also include tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes, and in Spanish they are called tomates verdes, but that is about all they have in common.  Green tomatoes are actually hard tomatoes that have not yet ripened or changed colors.  They are found mostly in the fall, when the temperatures are cooler and the tomatoes have not received enough heat to allow them to fully ripen and change colors.  They are always cooked and most often fried.  Tomatillos, on the other hand, are not tomatoes at all.  They are fruits from a completely different plant, and have a sticky pectin-like substance, as well as a husk that the fruit grows into, on the outside of the fruit.  They can be either green or purple, although, I have only seen the green tomatillos.   They are very popular in both Mexico and Guatemala, and were originally thought to have been introduced to the area by the Spanish conquistadors.  Although, fossils have been found in Argentina that have the tomatillos dating back as far as 16 million years.  Tomatillos are also known as jamberries.  They are very healthy for you, and their health benefits include being a great source of dietary fiber, as well as containing large amounts of niacin, potassium and manganese.  It is also believed they have anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting properties as well.  Tomatillos are very versatile, and can be eaten in many ways, however, they are most often used for either salsas or sauces.  I use a lot of tomatillos when I make green chili.  Tomatillos have a tangy flavor and are crisp and firm until cooked.  Time for Green Chili

The other day, I found these very large, beautiful tomatillos and just had to buy them and put them to good use.  That night, my husband told me about the chili contest for his work that was yesterday, on Halloween.  I was going to make a red chili, but made green chili instead.  Our chili did not win, but it was one of the finalists.  Maybe we will win next time.  It was very popular though, since there was none left over for us.  It’s a good thing we had some the night before.


Tomatillos, green bell peppers, roasted hatch chilies, green bell peppers, Anaheim chilies, and jalapenos, mixed together with garlic, onions, cumin, sage, thyme, oregano, salt & pepper.  All that is needed is the pork and the chicken broth,and time, then in a few hours, it will be a delicious green chili.



We love a good, hearty, meaty green chili, so I used this whole pork loin.  I cubed it and coated it in flour, then browned it before adding it to the vegetable mixture and the chicken broth.


i  mixed everything together, then put it in the slow cooker and cooked it for about 7 hours, at a low-medium temperature.


This picture is from another batch of green chili that i made in April.  Time for Green Chili


We love green chili, and it is a very popular dish here in Colorado, and in the Southwest in general.  We eat it quite often.  One of our favorite ways to eat it is served over tamales, with a nice, cold margarita especial to make the meal complete.  Esta mui delicioso!  Desfruitas!



Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

31 thoughts on “Tomatillos Are Not Green Tomatoes”

      1. I am trying my best to stay on top of things. I barely have enough time to get everything done as it is. Do you know, I have hundreds and hundreds of e-mails to go through on a daily basis? Plus, I teach my aqua classes, and I am a swim coach as well. My husband is already complaining that he thinks i am too busy and am not spending enough time with him. It’s tough. Life happens. So please do not take it personally. I am just a very busy person, and I seem to get busier and busier everyday.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Owwe Jeanne, I was just kidding, I know how does that go, last night my husband didn’t let me sit in front of the computer at all. He thought this blog is making me sick. All day long working with my patient’s and then with kids. He thinks blogging is pulling me away from him.. You are a lovely woman. Stay blessed. Take care. No worries. I was just pulling the humor out of it.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh dear…They must be green tomatoes I bought today at the market and I was so excited…Searching for a recipe I came across your post so maybe I will make green tomato chutney instead…Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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