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Oct 17, 2011 09:20 AM

What’s a tomatillo?

Is the tomatillo related to the gooseberry? Or is it just like an unripe tomato?

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  1. Yes, related to the gooseberry. Although it looks like a green tomato (when you take the husk off), it really isn't.

    1 Reply
    1. re: wyogal

      Tomatillos are not at all related to gooseberries, they are related to cape gooseberries which are completely different. Real gooseberries are related to currants and are extremely cold hardy annual bushes that grow in Northern climates, not tropical plants like tomatillos.

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        1. Tomatillo's taste is bright and sour and very slightly astringent, though the strength of the tang varies depending on how ripe it is. I have never tasted a true gooseberry (ribes uva-crispa).

          I have had desserts garnished with the cape gooseberry (physalis peruviana...tomatillo is physalis philadelphica), but I didn't taste the berry garnish, though I have eaten the bitter Indian aamla in pickled form-aamla is called Indian gooseberry in English (phyllanthis emblica). I had heard that all three were related, but looking up their genus and species (on wikipedia ) shows me that only the cape gooseberry and tomatillo are related.

          1 Reply
          1. re: luckyfatima

            Cape gooseberries/Physalis are quite sweet with an almost citrusy tang.