Since I was so amazingly successful with tomatillos this year I figured I better learn about them. I got my seeds from a friend who has saved them year to year – Thanks, Wilmer!
The tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa or Physalis philadelphica) is a small, spherical and green or green-purple fruit surrounded by a paper-like husk formed from the calyx. As the fruit matures, it fills the husk and can split it open by harvest. The husk is brown and the fruit yellowish when it is ripe. Tomatillos are the key ingredient in fresh and cooked Latin American green sauces. The freshness and greenness of the husk is a quality criterion. Fruit should be firm and bright green as the green colour and tart flavour are the main culinary contributions of the fruit.
–Wikipedia on Tomatillos
When they get “past prime” they are deliciously sweet eating something like a cross between an apple and an orange. This raises the question of, is the answer to the age old question of comparing apples and oranges – perhaps the answer is Tomatillos. Ours grew quite a bit larger than described on most of the web sites with most of them ending up around three inches across. The plants also grew taller than described, reaching five to six feet or even higher.
A relative of the tomato and member of the nightshade (Solanaceae) family tomatillos provide that tart flavor in a host of Mexican green sauces. In Mexico the fruit is called tomates verdes, tomates de cascara as well as fresadillas.
–GourmetSleuth on Tomatillos
In the photo above you can see the technique I have been using for the last several years to hold up tomato plants. This also works very well with the tomatillos. Once the vines get tall enough to need some support I take a piece of baling twine, attach it to something much higher and then spin the end of it around the vine. As the plant continues to grow I twirl it around the string. This works to hold the plant up securely as it grows heavy with fruit without constricting the vines.