Harvesting Tomatoes: How And When To Harvest Tomatillos
The harvesting season for tomatoes is from late summer until early fall. If you are lucky enough to have access to ripe tomatoes, then it would be best if you harvest them now before they go bad.
However, if you don’t have any luck in finding ripe tomatoes, then it might not make sense to wait too long since the fruit may still be good even when rotten or damaged.
When picking tomatoes, always pick only one tomato at a time. Don’t try to pick several at once because you could end up with a bunch of bruised and mangled fruits instead of just one juicy one.
Also, never cut off the top part of the fruit so that you can eat it later without having to peel it first. You want to get all the juice out of your fruit!
If you are going to pick tomatoes, here’s some tips to keep in mind:
Pick only one tomato at a time. Pick only one every few days.
Do not try to pick several at once because you could end up with a bunch of bruised and mangled fruits instead of just one juicy one. Always use gloves when handling the fruit; don’t touch the skin or anything else around the fruit with your bare hands. Wash your hands thoroughly afterward!
Harvesting tomatillos is very similar to harvesting tomatoes, but a little easier. Tomatillos tend to ripen better when they are left on the vine longer.
Also, you typically don’t eat the stem so you can just pick the fruit off as needed. You can also pick it and leave the stem on and place it in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to enjoy later.
How and When to Harvest Tomatillos:
Choose a bright, sunny day to harvest tomatillos so that they don’t spoil quickly. Be sure to harvest them in the morning since they will give off a sticky sap at night that can attract pests.
Place clean kitchen towels over the tomatillo plants so that you can easily grab the fruit without having the stems stick to your hands.
When harvesting, be careful not to get the sticky sap on your hands or clothing since it can stain. Cut the stem off about 1/2 inch from the fruit with scissors and give the fruit a good shake to get the rest of the sticky sap off.
If you need to, you can also rinse the tomatillo in cool water.
Don’t wait too long to harvest the tomatillos since they tend to get soft and moldy very quickly. You can also wrap them in paper towels and place them in a brown paper bag to ripen.
The bag should be closed most of the way so that too much moisture doesn’t build up inside. Check the bag every couple days and remove any spoiled fruit.
How Tomatillos Are Used:
The tomatillo is just a step away from being considered a fruit or vegetable since it is used as both. Typically though, it is considered to be more of a veggie.
Tomatillos are more commonly used in Latin American cooking since it is widely used in salsas. They can also be eaten raw.
Some people don’t like the flavor of raw tomatillos so a good idea would be to taste a small piece before using it for the first time in case your family also doesn’t care for the flavor.
To use them, rinse them off and then remove the outer skin.
Sources & references used in this article:
Developmental changes and postharvest physiology of tomatillo fruits (Physalis ixocarpa Brot.) by M Cantwell, J Flores-Minutti, A Trejo-González – Scientia Horticulturae, 1992 – Elsevier
Tomatillo production in California by R Smith, M Jimenez, M Cantwell – 1999 – escholarship.org
Evaluation and yield trials of tomatillo in New Hampshire by R Freyre, JB Loy – HortTechnology, 2000 – journals.ashs.org
Development of tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa Brot.) autotetraploids and their chromosome and phenotypic characterization by V Robledo-Torres, F Ramírez-Godina… – Breeding …, 2011 – jstage.jst.go.jp
Tomatillo: a potential vegetable crop for Louisiana by DN Moriconi, MC Rush, H Flores – Advances in new crops.(Janick J …, 1990 – growables.org