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Feb 23, 2005 04:19 PM

Milperos (tiny tomatillos)--a question

  • g

My neighborhood market is carrying them: think tomatillo, only half the size (or smaller). My Mexican colleague in the office says she has only ever seen them back in Mexico and she isn't completely certain as to their use--though she thinks they would be used just like tomatillos themselves. Everything I've found (precious little, actually) suggests that she's right. Does anyone know whether the tiny ones have a different flavor than their larger cousins--sweeter, smokier, tangier (tangy-er?), etc.?


Gypsy Boy

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  1. I've used them. You can use them just like any other tomatillo. I find them much better. I'm not sure how to describe them as better, not necessarily any sweeter or smokier or anything like that, just a more intense flavor. Enjoy them while they last.

    1. They're used just like other tomatillos.

      Where I live, they're called *miltomates* and their bigger cousins (what you call tomatillos) are just *tomates*. And regular RED tomatoes are *jitomates*. This nomenclature is pretty standard all over the interior and south of Mexico.

      The little guys are called *miltomates* (or where you are, milperos) because they are grown in between the rows of corn in the *milpas* (corn fields).

      Give me half a chance and instead of just giving you the name of the song, I'll tell you how to build a radio.


      5 Replies
      1. re: Cristina

        Thanks Cristina! I enjoy learning that kind of stuff.

        Now I will think of you every time I go up Milpas Street in Santa Barbara.

        1. re: snackish

          One of the saddest songs in Mexico is "Las Cuatro Milpas"--The Four Cornfields. Enough tequila and everybody cries when the trio sings this one.

          Cuatro milpas tan solo han quedado
          del ranchito que era mío, ay, ay, ay, ay.
          De aquella casita, tan blanca y bonita
          lo triste que está.

          Only four cornfields remained
          Of the little farm that was mine, ay ay ay.
          That little house, so white and pretty,
          I's so sad.

          Los potreros están sin ganado
          toditito se acabó, ay, ay, ay, ay.
          La cerca de alambre que estaba en el patio,
          también se cayó.

          The pastures have no beef cattle,
          Everything is gone, ay ay ay.
          The wire fence that was around the patio,
          It fell down too.

          Si me prestas tus ojos morena
          los llevo en el alma que miran allá,
          los despojos de aquella casita
          tan blanca y bonita lo triste que está.

          If you loan me your eyes, my dark girl
          I'll carry them in my soul to look at all that,
          The rubble of that little house,
          So white and pretty, and so sad.

          Las cosechas quedaron perdidas
          toditito se acabó, ay, ay, ay, ay.
          Y ya no hay palomas, ni flores
          ni aromas, ya todo acabó.

          The harvests were lost,
          Everything is finished, ay ay ay.
          And now there are no doves, no flowers,
          No fragrances, now everything is finished.

          Las palmeras lloraban tu ausencia
          la laguna se secó, ay, ay, ay, ay.
          Los peones y arrieros toditos se fueron
          y nadie quedó.

          The palm trees were crying over your absence,
          The lake dried up, ay ay ay.
          The workers and the mule drivers--everybody left
          And no one stayed behind.

          Y por esto estoy triste morena
          por eso me pongo muy triste a llorar,
          recordando las tardes felices
          que los dos pasamos en aquel lugar.

          And that's why I'm sad, my dark girl
          That's why I get so sad that I cry,
          Remembering those happy afternoons
          That we spent in that place.

          No vuelan palomas, ni flores
          ni aromas, ya todo acabó.

          Doves don't fly, or flowers
          No fragrances, everything's finished.

          Oh man, pass me a handkerchief.

        2. re: Cristina

          Thanks for a wonderful and informative reply. But let me be churlish and persist in one question: any flavor difference?

          1. re: Gypsy Boy

            Nope. Now you can stop churling.

            1. re: Gypsy Boy

              Here in Northern California, milperos have a more intense flavor and are less watery and pulpy than larger tomatillos. The flavor profile is the same. I also find them more aromatic as they have a higher skin to volume ratio. They pick up more smokiness from charring too.