Kitchen Garden

Trouble with Tomatillos

Tomatillo harvest on Aug. 4, 2021

This year four tomatillo plants are producing an abundance of the fruit. Due to a paucity of recipes so many are not a good fit for our kitchen garden.

Mainly I used tomatillos in salsa to provide texture and their green color. I also slice or dice them to add to stir fry. Because there are so many, I will freeze what I can’t use fresh and see how that works in the coming months. In years past, the plants did not produce so many fruits. Next year I’ll reduce the number of plants.

I asked for recipe ideas on social media and the responses were honest yet not viable.

A common pairing is with the meat of hogs or chickens. As a vegetarian household, that’s not an option.

Another idea is to mix them with avocados and other ingredients for guacamole. This one winds me up because I’m in the camp of people who believe the rise in popularity of avocados also drives deforestation. How bad is the rapidly expanded avocado business?

The short answer is that avocado farming is causing deforestation, destroying ecosystems, funding drug cartels, and contributing to climate change. In Michoacán, Mexico, the biggest avocado producing region in the world, farmers are illegally razing pine forests in order to plant lucrative avocado trees. The native pine trees make up an irreplaceable habitat to indigenous species, including the iconic monarch butterfly.

Ethical Unicorn, Sept. 23, 2018.

Young people look at me askance when I say I won’t eat avocados because of deforestation resulting from their popularity. Nonetheless, I’m pretty firm in that view and have been weathered by askance looks over the course of many years. No guacamole or avocado toast for me.

The reality is there is already too much to do in the kitchen with hundreds of tomatoes lined up for processing. I put the tomatillos from the photo on a baking sheet and stuck them in the chest freezer to get them out of the way. When frozen, I’ll put them in a zip top bag until I’m ready to use some. There are many dozens of them remaining on the vines to be used fresh or given away.

We have two Mexican restaurants in the area and they have taken excess jalapeno peppers before. We’ll see what I harvest and maybe stop by one of them to present tomatillos as a gift. At least they won’t go to waste.

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