It's once again Well Read Wednesday and this month I'm reviewing Tomatillos: A Gardener's Dream, A Cook's Delight by Judy Barrett!
From the title, I'm sure you realized that this book is about tomatillos - specifically how to grow them and how to cook with them. This comb-bound book is divided into three sections.
The first section is a couple pages describing what tomatillos are, both as a plant and as a food. The author is clearly passionate about this fruit (?) and describes the many reasons to grow and eat this delicious treat.
The second section, about a third of the book, gives details on how to grow tomatillos. The author goes into details about the overall nature of the plant which is found and grows well in much of the Southwestern US and Mexico. She then describes her practices for successfully growing them, detailing her process from germination, to trellising, to harvesting. She is an organic gardener, which is a nice benefit, as she speaks to her experience of them being mostly pest-resistant and mentions what minor pests she does get.
The last half of this book is devoted to the author's own recipes that she uses for tomatillos. I of course grew up eating dishes with tomatillos in them, but this section definitely introduced me to many, many more ways to eat this deliciously tangy treat. She manages to have multiple recipes for each course of a meal (can you imagine tomatillos in everything??). This section was definitely a surprise and provided some interesting food for thought.
Why I Read It
As you all know, I have four tomatillo plants that I am growing hydroponically in my apartment. Up until now, I have relied heavily on the information on the seed package and the sparse online information I've mamaged to dig up. Most of what I've found has been very heavily based on how to grow tomatoes and so not always 100% accurate, and when accurate, not all that detailed. I thought maybe I could find a book by an experienced gardener to get a little further. Surprisingly, there really are not a ton of books out there on the subject. This one turned out to actually be very helpful, if not quite as scientific as I was hoping. I even tried some of the recipes and while I will still probably use my own salsa recipe (the one in the book has way too much oil), I definitely am inspired to use tomatillos in new and creative ways.
So if you're growing your own tomatillos or want a creative food to try out in your cooking, definitely check this book out!