Long Awaited Tomatillo Salsa!

“Absence makes the heart grow fonder,”

        says a lot of people.

Yum! I was so excited the day I learned how to make fresh salsa. I especially love the flavor of roasted vegetables. My first salsa was a traditional tomato-based variety in which the ingredients were cooked under the broiler in the oven. I also enjoyed making enchiladas with chicken and the canned green salsas but one day I asked myself, “What would happen if I substituted tomatoes in my salsa recipe for tomatillos?” I’ll tell you what happened! I quit buying canned green salsa!

When we lived stateside, tomatillos were a staple at the local grocery store. We never hesitated to buy bundles of them and whip up fresh salsa every week. We used it in our enchiladas, tacos, as a snack with chips, and eventually I learned how to make tamales with it.

This changed when we moved to Japan.

We have still been able to make red salsa, but the green we have had to live without for nearly two years. Why? Tomatillos are not shipped to the commissary. I tried to grow them; I failed. I tried again this year; I succeeded! Our long wait for fresh tomatillo salsa is about to come to an end; hurray!

Tomatillos and peppers

Today I will show you how I make my salsa. It can be used immediately or frozen for a later date (which is my plan). I was very happy to be able to use my freshly grown tomatillos, serrano peppers, and purple cayenne peppers today!

Purple Cayenne and Serrano Peppers–Aren’t they festive?

You will need:

8-10 tomatillos (consider the size)

1 small purple onion

1 green bell pepper

1-4 spicy peppers (to your taste) such as jalapeño, serrano, cayenne, or poblano

2 garlic cloves

¼ cup of chopped cilantro

1 teaspoon cumin (we call it comino)

Optional: salt and pepper or lime juice to taste

Oven broiler or grill

Broiler safe cookware

Instructions: First place tomatillos without their husks into a bowl of water for ½ hour. This will reduce the sticky texture on the outside. You can heat the broiler during this time.

The removed tomatillo husks would make a great addition to the compost!
The tomatillos are taking a water bath for approximately 30 minutes.

Next, dice all vegetables into large chunks and discard the cores and stems of the tomatillos and peppers. Place all veggies into the oven safe dish.

Cut off the stems and make the veggies ready to go straight to the blender after cooking.

Cook under the broiler for approximately 10 minutes until you see some charring on the veggies. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.

Slightly charred and very flavorful, the vegetables are ready to be made into a delicious salsa.

Place all of the cooked veggies and remaining ingredients into a food processor and chop to desired consistency.

I leave a lot of seeds because we like the heat and the texture, but you can always remove them before adding to the blender if that suits your taste.

Now you can add your salsa to your desired recipe, place in a freezer safe bag for later use, or enjoy it fresh with chips immediately.

Ready to be used on a later date, the salsa is packed in freezer safe bags with the air squeezed out.


Next time, I will write about how I intend to use this salsa—in homemade Christmas Tamales! Joy to this household, a taste of home has come! That makes my heart sing.

How do you use your tomatillos? I would welcome any growing or cooking ideas you have!

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