How to Tell If Tomatillo is Ripe (Answered!)

Tomatillos are a staple in Mexican cuisine, and they are becoming increasingly popular in the United States and United Kingdom. These small, round fruits are members of the nightshade family, and they are often used to make salsa verde, enchiladas, and other traditional dishes. However, many people are unsure how to tell if a tomatillo is ripe, which can be a problem when trying to prepare these recipes. Today I’m going to explain exactly how to tell if tomatillo is ripe!

How to Tell If Tomatillo is Ripe

When it comes to determining the ripeness of a tomatillo, color is not always the best indicator. While ripe tomatillos are generally green, they can also be yellow, red, or purple, depending on the variety. Instead, it is important to look at the fruit’s texture and the condition of its husk. A ripe tomatillo should be firm and slightly hard, with a papery husk that is dry and starting to split. If the husk is moist or moldy, or if the fruit is soft or squishy, it is likely overripe or spoiled.

To get the most flavor out of tomatillos, it is best to pick them at the peak of ripeness. This can be tricky, as tomatillos do not all ripen at the same time on the vine. However, by checking the fruit regularly and looking for the signs of maturity described above, it is possible to harvest tomatillos when they are at their best. Once picked, tomatillos can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or frozen for longer-term storage.

How to Tell If Tomatillo is Ripe

Tomatillos are known for their tart and tangy flavor, which makes them a popular ingredient in many Mexican dishes. However, it can be challenging to tell when they’re ripe and ready to use. Here are some tips to help you recognize ripe tomatillos:


Ripe tomatillos come in a variety of colors, including green, red, yellow, and even purple. However, the green color is the most common and recognizable. When tomatillos are ripe, they’ll usually have a bright green color that’s uniform throughout.


Tomatillos come in different sizes, but when they’re ripe, they’ll be full-sized. If you’re not sure what size to look for, check the packaging or ask your local grocer.


When tomatillos are ripe, they’ll be firm to the touch. If they’re too soft, they may be overripe and not suitable for use.


Ripe tomatillos will have a smooth and slightly sticky texture. If they’re too dry or too wet, they may not be ripe.


Ripe tomatillos will have a tart and tangy flavor that’s slightly sour. If they’re too sweet, they may not be ripe.

Harvesting Tomatillos

How to Tell If Tomatillo is Ripe

When it comes to harvesting tomatillos, it’s important to know when to pick them. The fruit should be ripe, but not overripe, for the best flavor and texture. Here are a few tips on how to harvest tomatillos:

  • Look for ripe tomatillos: Ripe tomatillos will have a yellowish-green color and will fill out their husk. The husk should be tight around the fruit, and the fruit should be firm to the touch.
  • Twist or cut: To remove the tomatillos from the plant, you can either twist them off the vine or cut them off with a pair of scissors. Be sure to leave the husk intact, as this will help protect the fruit during storage.
  • Harvest regularly: It’s important to harvest tomatillos regularly to encourage new growth and ensure that the fruit doesn’t become overripe or fall off the plant.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your tomatillos are harvested at the right time and are ready to use in your favorite recipes.

Storing Tomatillos

Tomatillos should be stored properly to ensure they remain fresh and ripe for as long as possible. Here are some tips on how to store tomatillos:

  • Store tomatillos in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. A pantry or cupboard is a good option.
  • Tomatillos can be stored in the refrigerator, but they should be wrapped in a paper towel and placed in a perforated plastic bag to allow for air circulation. This will help to prevent moisture buildup, which can cause the tomatillos to spoil.
  • Tomatillos can also be stored in the freezer. Simply remove the husks, rinse and dry the tomatillos, and place them in a freezer-safe container or bag. Frozen tomatillos can be used in sauces and soups, but they may lose some of their texture and flavor.
  • If you have ripe tomatillos that you won’t be using right away, you can store them in a paper bag. This will help to keep them cool and dry while allowing air to circulate.
How to Tell If Tomatillo is Ripe

Unripe and Overripe Tomatillos

Tomatillos come in different colors, but green is the most common. When tomatillos are unripe, they are still green and hard to the touch. They are not yet ready to be harvested and should be left on the plant to mature. Unripe tomatillos are sour and tart, and they are not suitable for eating.

On the other hand, overripe tomatillos are soft, wrinkled, and may have a yellowish tint. They are past their prime and should be discarded. Overripe tomatillos are not as flavorful as ripe ones and may be sweeter than desired.

It is important to harvest tomatillos when they are firm to the touch, and their husks have split open. Ripe tomatillos are still green, but they are no longer hard. They have a slightly sweet and tangy flavor and are perfect for making salsa verde and other dishes.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you tell if a tomatillo is ripe?

A ripe tomatillo should be firm and have a light brown color. It should also be filled with a sticky substance that is known as tomatillo juice. If the tomatillo is soft or mushy, it might be overripe or rotten.

How do you know when tomatillos are ready to harvest?

Tomatillos are ready to harvest when they have reached their full size and have filled out their husks. The husks should be dry and crackly, and the fruit should be firm to the touch. If the husks are green and the fruit is still small, it is not yet ready to be harvested.

What color should a ripe tomatillo be?

A ripe tomatillo should have a light brown color. If the tomatillo is still green, it might not be fully ripe yet.

Can you eat tomatillos if they are not fully ripe?

Yes, tomatillos can be eaten when they are not fully ripe. They will have a more tart flavor, but they are still edible.

What are some signs that tomatillos are going bad?

If a tomatillo is going bad, it might have a mushy texture or a foul smell. The husk might also be discolored or moldy.

Is it better to pick tomatillos when they are underripe or overripe?

It is better to pick tomatillos when they are ripe or slightly underripe. Overripe tomatillos might be mushy and have a less desirable flavor.

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