Mexican Green Tomatoes

Mexican Green Tomatoes

This blog entry is dedicated to those delicious, tangy beautiful fruits called green tomatoes that drive Mexicans and Australians crazy. They are not unripen red tomatoes, nor are they Asian green tomatoes. Mexican green tomatoes (physalis ixocarpa among others) come from a different family than red tomatoes and are covered by a sticky husk that all Mexican kids have had to peel at least once in their lives.

You say tomato and we say tomate (or tomatillo?), let’s call the whole thing off!

There are many varieties of this green tomato along the American continent and just in Mexico the same fruit can have different names depending on the region it is cultivated or its size. Some of these names are: tomate verde (green tomato), tomatillo (small tomato), miltomate (smaller variety meaning maize field tomato), guatomate (variety from Puebla), tomate de bolsa (bag tomato), tomate de cáscara (husked tomato).

Uses and Location


Mexicans commonly use green tomatoes in their daily diet, whether it is in a raw, cooked or pickled version. It goes great with different chillies, the most common preparation being a salsa with raw or boiled tomatoes along with Serrano chillies and coriander. It is also used to prepare stews with pork, beef and chicken. Some of the most popular dishes are chilaquiles and enchiladas, which are made of fried tortillas soaked in green salsa, accompanied by fresh onion, sour cream and cheese.   Currently in Australia, it is more and more common to find salsas prepared with green tomatoes (besides the classic red colour salsas). In supermarkets look for the “Mexican food” aisle and they might have green salsa. Remember to keep it in the fridge once opened. It is also common to find cans of green tomatoes in specialty shops or delis.

The Stock Market

Fresh green tomatoes are hard to find in Australia, so I am growing my own like a few other people I have heard of. They are only a few seedlings The Intolerant Chef kindly gave me, which I am hoping will make good salsa in the future.   Green tomato seedlings are a high commodity among the Mexican expats in Australia; I guess it is the fact tomatoes are part of our daily diet and we want the real thing. I’ll report back if I hear of someone growing them at commercial scale.

Tell me readers if you have tried Mexican green tomatoes, and if you enjoyed their flavour.


Ricardo Muñoz Zurita, Diccionario enciclopédico de la gastronomía Mexicana, Larousse 2010.

Twitter: Reforma, “Buena Mesa” @reformabmesa, 17-April-2014 7:07 am

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