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Can Green Tomatoes sub for Tomatillos?

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I've read that this can work, but having no experience with fresh tomatillos, and being all but buried by our tomato patch gone into overdrive, does anyone have experience subbing green toms in recipes that call for tomatillos?

We're up to our a$$ in tomatoes. I know...tough prob, lol. But I've put up more than enough RIPE toms in every form to last us at least until next tom season, given away all that friends want or will take (they're starting to hide when we call...)

I just HATE the idea of wasting all that goodness still on the vines, so would love any ideas for using/preserving green toms.

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  1. I have had green tomatos pickled with jalepeno chilis, one way to use them up. I think you could substitute green tomatos for the tomatillos but would probably have to cook them a little longer or chop them more finely. Tomatillos are jucier that green tomatos and and less firm. Try it in chile verde with pork and see if it works out. That can be frozen and pulled out on a cold day.

    1. tomatillos being a completely different fruit (relative of the cape gooseberry), i don't think subbing green tomatoes for tomatillos will really work.

      we have thin sliced and fried (or baked, depends on mood) breaded green tomatoes and put up in freezer, used like eggplant in parm, made heroes, used in pizzas...

      1. Agree with maspeth, in most recipes I wouldn't substitute green toms for tomatillos.

        If you haven't already, scan this recent similarly titled post for ideas:

        Google search #1: http://southernfood.about.com/od/toma...

        1. Thanks for all the ideas./resources.

          WC: I have sliced raw jalapenos just beginning to pickle (in pure vinegar) in the fridge as we speak, will split the batch and add some sliced green toms to the mix. Chile verde was one thing I was aiming at with the idea of subbing them.

          MM: I know they're not the same 'animal' but have to wonder if in a spicy sauce they might not be at least acceptable. Nobody here will eat fried green tomatoes, I get "oh, yuck, this is weird'' lol. I wouldn't have thought of a green tomato parm thing...doubt I could get away with that for this crowd, but maybe a dish or two for me to try...

          DF: Great links to check out, thanks. Just quckly scanning the chow thread, looks to me that acidity/texture are the biggest issues folks have.

          At this point, it's a 'nothing ventured...' thing for me. Thank you all for the help!

          2 Replies
          1. re: OldDog

            If you have any small tomatoes, you can pickle tham whole, too or cut them in wedges instead of slices. They hold up to the acid a little better in my experience. I would love to hear how the chili verde turns out; it's one of my favorites and the tanginess might be really good there.

            1. re: OldDog

              Tomatillos aren't as meally and dry as green tomatoes either. They also aren't as bitter, as green tomatoes can be, depending on variety.

              If your friends would eat fried zucchini with marinara, they they'd eat fried green tomatoes. Remarkably similar taste and texture there.

              Don't forget green tomato marmalade.

            2. Why not try some substitutions? The taste won't be the same, but that doesn't mean the dish will taste bad. Regular tomatoes are used in many of the same ways as tomatillos in various Mexican salsas (both cooked and raw).

              If you had just a few precious green tomatoes it would make sense to use them in the tried and true green tomato recipes, but since you have plenty, you can experiment. Some substitutions will work, others may not.


              1. Used to test recipes...One mag was big on salsa at the time , used green toms in place of tomatillos ....tasted fine. But that's a lot of salsa!

                Green toms are specifically called for in a (hamburger) relish recipe I used to make.

                I also wash (little chlorine bleach in water), wrap individually in newspaper, store in cool area, and have ripe toms til Thanksgiving...Check every few days to guage ripening.

                If you are truly at wits end, perhaps a local church pantry or food bank would welcome them. Or elderly neighbors who can't garden anymore but remember home- grown produce.

                1. OldDog, I have the same issue until I decided to try Green Salsa recipies in bulk and added hobinaroes for the spice, I put the seasoning and garlic like most salsas and it turned out great.

                  I also processed my green tomaters and placed them in one gallon freezer zip lock bags and froze in my deep freeze to be used with my Pork Chili verde in the winter. I found you can cook just as well with the green tomaters as you can with the Tomatillos. You will have to cook alittle longer, but the taste and thinkness is still there.