Tomatillos or jamberry, whose binomial name is Physalis philadelphica, is a key ingredient in Latin American sauces and Mexican cuisine. Tomatillos are available year-round in most supermarkets. However, the main season is May through October. Used for a variety of salsa and sauces, the tomatillos, unlike tomatoes have a distinct aroma like lemon grass and a tangy tart taste. Known to be a rich source of vitamin A and C, and those of you who are calorie conscious, it's good to know that they are relatively low on calories too. Not dwelling more on the detailed description of the fruits, let's move on to how to store them.
It's a known fact that storing and preserving fresh food and vegetables gives them a longer shelf-life. I bet there isn't anyone who hasn't heard of storing things for a rainy day. Whatever be the reason, storing food especially when it is purchased in bulk is a norm followed diligently. Here are a few ways to store tomatillos.
Storing the Plant
I might be sounding crazy but hey, if you grow your own tomatillos, then this might sound an easy option for you. You need not pluck the fruits from the plant, all you have to do is uproot the plant itself and hang it upside down in a cool and dark room. Keep away from moisture though or you might end up spoiling the fruit. All said and done, you can remove and use the fruits as and when required.
String Them Up
This may be a time-consuming task but well worth the effort; besides, you can always get your kids to do this stuff, if you have your hands full of chores. As you know, these fruits look like little lanterns with their husks and stocks still on, all that you need to do is, tie them up together and hang them in your kitchen. It will give a decorative look to your kitchen as well as make it relatively easier to use.
Use Wicker Baskets
Ever observed how your Gran used to store vegetables like onions and garlic in wicker baskets? Your Gran certainly knew how to store things and keep them ventilated. Purchase a wicker basket that can be hung in a corner and place the berries with their husks still on, in the baskets. By doing this, your tomatillos will last for about 2 months and you're only needed to stretch out your hand into the basket.
Stuff them in the Crisper
Ain't it nice to simply stuff things into the refrigerator and simply let it do the preserving? Your only task is to peel the tomatillos under running water to get rid of the sticky residue, dry and place them in a paper bag or a bowl lined with paper towel, and into the crisper section. This way, the tomatillos will last for a minimum period of two weeks to about a month, that is, if stored when they are still raw.
How about Freezing?
The best possible way to store food for a rainy day is to freeze it, and why not do it for the benefits of locking in vitamins as well as for that of a time-saving measure. Before stacking into the freezer though, ensure you wash and dry them, and place them on a flat tray or better still, in a cookie/muffin sheet. Once frozen, remove from the sheets and simply throw into a zip lock pouch for future use. You can store them for almost a year like that.
Blend and Store
One swirl in the food processor and you are done; your purée is ready to be stored in a jar in the refrigerator. Only remember to throw in some spices and salt to make it last for a longer time. Use as and when required as a sauce to give your dishes that extra zing. You can also fill your ice tray with the purée and once frozen, store them in pouches and use them to prepare an authentic Mexican salsa.
Why not Canned Tomatillos?
Although cooking tomatillos may result in a slight loss of flavor, you can pressure cook the tomatillos and preserve them for future use. For those with an insatiable appetite, you can also prepare jams and marmalade with tomatillos and stack them away in the fridge. And for those of you, who enjoy a late night snack, all you've got to do is, head to your refrigerator and help yourself to a serving of tortilla with a generous serving of tomatillo marmalade. Now that's what I call bliss!
What if you are expecting guests and have planned to prepare Mexican cuisine but you suddenly find that the stored tomatillos have turned foul despite the efforts to store them? First and foremost, stop fretting, as you can use substitutes for tomatillos and prepare your dish. Besides, it is always good to stack and preserve food, like in the ant and the grasshopper story where, the ant wisely saves for a cold day.