Here's the beautiful salsa recipe to feature your zingy fruit; but be sure to snack on them plain too. We also enjoyed them with brie, aged cheddar and prosciutto, as a wonderful juxtaposition to all that's creamy and rich.

RAW PURPLE TOMATILLO SALSA~ a late summer harvest and education about tomatillos

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Here's the beautiful salsa recipe to feature your zingy fruit; but be sure to snack on them plain too. We also enjoyed them with brie, aged cheddar and prosciutto, as a wonderful juxtaposition to all that's creamy and rich.

I had never seen purple tomatillos until last summer when I was shopping at Food Front in Portland, OR.  They have a beautiful produce section. We bought them in a moment of delight.

red gooseberries

Red gooseberries

I was happy to learn that purple tomatillos actually date back to 800 BC and are native to Central America! (800 BC!) They are indeed in the nightshade family, but not related to tomatoes. They are, instead, related to gooseberries and ground cherries.

Another noteworthy quality? They are unusually high in pectin! This means you could experiment by making jam with them, combining their lemony flavor with a fruit to get a sticky, thick preserves with less sweetener. In 1945, scientists even started calling one variety of tomatillos jamberries.

Eating Tomatillos Raw

Another surprise came when my mother-in-law tasted the fruit raw, while prepping it for our dinner.  I had only cooked tomatillos, never eaten them raw.  We ended up keeping them all raw and eating them in small tangy wedges.  They were simply amazing in their flavor: super sweet and super zesty, full of flavor.

If you can find purple tomatillos at your local farmer’s market or gourmet health food store grab them up and I hope they’re as amazing as ours were.

My mom fulfilled my wildest dreams and grew them this summer in her garden! What a lovely surprise!purple tomatillos Last summer when I came home from Portland I searched all over Eugene to recreate the salsa I had (also) made, and to keep eating the purple beauties, but- no luck! So this post waited a whole year, until my mum grew them, so I could share with you this recipe and fresh photos of the purple lovelies.

Here’s the beautiful salsa recipe to feature your zingy fruit; but be sure to snack on them plain too.  We also enjoyed them with brie, aged cheddar and prosciutto, as a wonderful juxtaposition to all that’s creamy and rich.

Here's the beautiful salsa recipe to feature your zingy fruit; but be sure to snack on them plain too. We also enjoyed them with brie, aged cheddar and prosciutto, as a wonderful juxtaposition to all that's creamy and rich.

 

Alternately, you can hand chop all the veggies in this recipe. The day I photographed it, I did just that. It’s fabulous with both preparations: use the food processor for a juicier outcome or hand-chop for a pico-de-gallo chunkiness. Every time you bite into a piece of tomatillo you’ll be so pleased you made this raw version. They are so sweet! And so lemony. A very fun mouth friend. One that brings adventure.

5 from 1 vote
Here's the beautiful salsa recipe to feature your zingy fruit; but be sure to snack on them plain too. We also enjoyed them with brie, aged cheddar and prosciutto, as a wonderful juxtaposition to all that's creamy and rich.
PURPLE TOMATILLO SALSA
Prep Time
20 mins
Total Time
20 mins
 
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Megan
Ingredients
  • 4 large purple tomatillos papery husks removed
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced
  • 2 T. cilantro minced
  • 1/2 red jalapeno (or use red bell pepper for a not-spicy version) minced, or green if red is unavailable (use caution when handling)
  • 1 serrano chili (optional, omit for a milder salsa) stemmed, minced and de-seeded (use caution when handling)
  • 1 T. lime juice
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
Instructions
  1. Rinse the tomatillos under warm water to remove the stickiness, which can be bitter.
  2. Quarter each of the tomatillos; then place them in a food processor. Pulse the fruit until it's diced in odd shapes.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse again, just briefly until the ingredients are all mixed together well, and a teeny bit juicy.
  4. Serve.

Purple Tomatillo Salsa

We enjoyed this lovely meal for lunch recently, a late summer harvest from my mom’s garden: purple tomatillo salsa topped zucchini noodles; the heirloom tomatoes were at their best; this pork sausage is pasture-raised from a local farm. Everything was in its proper place for us to wiggle and say mmm with enjoyment during the whole meal. Sigh, Summer, we love you.

What about the zucchini noodles?

 

We have 3 zoodle makers, ones we have acquired in our commercial kitchen that found their way home.  The spiralizer below is my favorite one. It works well in every way.What’s your favorite zoodle maker? Do you have one yet?

My biggest and best surprise came with the fact that this sweet, zesty tomatillo salsa is so compatible with zoodles. Zoodles are versatile, and the salsa says summer just when you don’t want it to end…

Comments 24

  1. I have learned something new reading your article! I mistakenly thought that tomatillos were hot for some reason! By hot I mean spicy! I’ll have to try them know that I’ve read they are sweet! I envision green ones are also sweet? I am someone whose tongue doesn’t enjoy chili pepper or jalapeño. My tongue can’t be talked out of it, unfortunately. I think for those who enjoy a bit of kick, this sounds like a fabulous recipe!

    1. Yes, Sandrine, the green ones are very lemony and a bit sweet, too, not spicy at all. I recommend you just leave the spicy peppers out of this salsa or replace them with diced red bell pepper. The colors are so pretty together. I do make the recipe with red bell peppers, so my kids will love it. But even plain wedges of this fruit are quite exciting. 🙂

      1. I love red peppers! I would if it is too late to buy tomatillos?! I’ll see if they are available. If not, next time I see them!

        1. It should be the perfect time to buy them still. My mom is still harvesting hers, along the McKenzie River, near Eugene, OR. If you are able to check Food Front in Portland, I pray you find them!

  2. I have only eaten tomatillos a handful of times raw, but many times cooked. This is one food that I haven’t much experience with, and I’m looking forward to trying it in the way you’ve laid out the recipe here. I will check with the farmer’s market next time I go and see if anyone is selling them. Thanks for this recipe, Megan, beautiful pictures!

  3. These are so pretty! I had no idea they existed. I’ve never had them raw either. I’m going to look for some to try. Beautiful recipe!

    1. Thanks, Carol! We have three spiralizers, none of ours being name brands, since we bought them second hand from our restaurant supply store. Ours are for commercial kitchens. But they are similar to the ones I recommend. We also have a little hand held one from Bed Bath & Beyond that looks like a vegetable peeler but instead makes zoodles.

  4. I just found your site Megan and joined your mailing list! This recipe looks amazing. I will have to try it. What are your thoughts on using an apple peeler corer in place of the spiralizer? I have a tiny kitchen and resist cluttering it with new gadgets but so want to try zucchini noodles. I have lots of patty pan squash in my garden that would not fit into the smaller one.

    1. Hi Barbara! So glad to have you here and thanks for the question. I know what you mean about not having too many gadgets and especially clutter! We are having a big garage sale today! But, I do not think it will work. I do have an apple peeler corer and you’re right; there are some definite similarities in how they’re designed! I hadn’t noticed that. You could certainly try. Depending on how you cook and what you love to eat, I think the smaller handheld spiralizer shown above is worth owning. At least for us, we use it all the time and love it. The bigger one is not as versatile in my opinion, for different shaped veggies. Yes, patty pan would go in the smaller one, fun. Good luck deciding!

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