Scientifically, these small fruits are called “Physalis Philadelphica”. Tomatillo belongs to the Solanaceae or nightshade family, a family with tomato, chilli pepper, eggplant, potato and ground cherry. The name is also almost the same as a tomato, maybe because the shape of the fruit is almost the same as a tomato, but it is smaller. Tomatilla is sometimes also called cherry husk or tomato verde.
This tomatillo plant, grows in the western hemisphere, but is now also found in Asian countries such as Indonesia. The shape of the fruit is a caterpillar like a tomato but small in size like a cherry tomato. This fruit is covered with a thin skin called the shell. The shell is light green in color, until it turns brown as the fruit ripens.
What is Tomatillo?
Tomatillo or physalis is a small shrubby plant that grows to about 4 feet. The stems are juicy and brittle like the stems of other young plants. This plant likes sunny locations to be able to produce more fruit shells. Thrives in fertile, well-drained soil. The shape of the leaves can be serrated, thirsty or pubescent, while the flowers have several colors such as white, purple, bright yellow. Flowers sometimes have a purple spot on the crown and sometimes there is none.
Tomatillo or husk cherries is a green Mexican fruit with a light green shell when it is young and changes as the fruit ages. Plants with fruit like cherry tomatoes are a family of tomatoes, the fruit is sometimes also similar to gooseberries. When ripe, the fruit turns yellow with the thin shell surrounding the fruit turning brown. However, the tomatillo fruit is usually used when it is still green.
Tomatoillo fruit contains pectin which can be seen when it thickens when cooled. The inside is white and it is more dense than tomatoes. The taste of the fruit flesh is slightly sour and like lemon. If you have picked it and opened the thin shell, it must be consumed immediately to get the maximum health benefits of tomatillos. If you want to store it, then don’t open the shell, let the fruit remain neatly stored in the shell. The size of the fruit may be the size of a walnut or about 30-50 grams, very small but rich in health benefits.
Let’s take a look at the history of the tomatillo plant before we look at its incredible health benefits.
Before the arrival of Europeans, the husk cherries or tomatillo was domesticated in Mexico, and it played an important role in the culture of the Mayans and Aztecs, even more important than the tomato. The name “philadelphica” from scientific language is derived from the 18th century, when this plant was spread and exported to all parts of the world. In the 1950s, this plant was exported to India, now widely grown in Rajasthan, grows also in Queensland (Australia), Kenya and Pietersburg (South Africa). While in the United States, the tomatillo plant is also found in California and Iowa. Now, that tomatillos are grown all over the world and even in Indonesia, they are now starting to cultivate the tomatillo plant for health benefits.
Tomatillo Nutritional value
Indeed, it tastes sour and not as delicious as apples, but the physalis or tomatillo fruit is a nutrient-rich fruit and has even become a special fruit with a myriad of health benefits.
Consuming about 132 grams of tomatillos offers 15.4 mg of vitamin C, offers 2,442 mg of vitamin B3, 51 mg of Phosphorus, 13.3 g of Vitamin K, 0.104 mg of Copper, 0.82 mg of Iron, 354 mg of Potassium and offers 0.202 mg of Manganese.
Best Benefits of Tomatillos
This is a verde tomato, also known as husk cherries, is a fruit from Mexico with a small green shape and similar to cherry tomatoes. It is rich in dietary fiber, few calories, low in fat level, very few calories, and has many health benefits such as preventing diabetes. Other health benefits of eating tomatillos are improving digestion, lowering uric acid levels, boosting the immune system, increasing stamina, good for bone density, good for cell growth, reducing PMS symptoms, lowering blood pressure, and losing excess weight.
Below we take a look one by one in more depth about what are the health benefits of consuming tomatillos.
1. Good for blood pressure and heart health
Tomatoillo fruit contains potassium and sodium in the right amount so that it is good for blood control and heart health. Potassium is a substance that is useful for relaxing blood vessels and reducing tension in blood vessels and this reduces strain on the cardiovascular system, thereby helping to promote the distribution of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. Consuming tomatillos is good for lowering blood pressure and preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes.
2. Benefits of physalis for gout
Tomatillo also contains vitamin C whose benefits are to reduce the risk of gout and pain. If uric acid hits the feet, it will stretch and stiffen, pain due to excess uric acid can also lead to the development of crystals in the joints. Tomatillo is a fruit that contains 15.4 mg of vitamin C and this is 17.11% of the daily value you should consume.
3. Prevent cancer
The other health benefit of tomatillos is prevent the cancer cell. This small green fruit contains antioxidants called phytochemicals or withanolides. This is directly related to anti-cancer and anti-bacterial. Antioxidants also prevent and fight free radicals that enter the body.
Then, in tomatillos also contains vitamin A, vitamin C and flavonoids, these are antioxidants that act as free radical scavengers so as to protect the body from cancer, especially lung and oral cancer.
4. Helps in the treatment of diabetes
One of the contents of tomatillo is vitamin B3 or niacin, the benefit of niacin is to prevent and treat diabetes by balancing sugar levels.
Vitamin B3 in the form of niacinamide helps and supports the effectiveness of certain oral medications used for diabetes control.
5. Good for eye health
The tomatillo also has huge benefits to the eyes are due to the presence of beta carotene. Beta carotene is a vitamin A derivative that works to prevent macular degeneration, cataracts, and other health conditions. This vitamin A acts as an antioxidant and provides protection to the eyes.
6. Slow down aging
Well, the presence of copper in tomatillos is mentioned as an agent that prevents premature aging. This copper also acts as an antioxidant to protect cells from the bad effects of free radicals. So, the benefits of consuming tomatillos regularly are preventing premature aging, macular degeneration and removing age spots. One serving of tomatillas already provides 0.104 copper, this means about 11.54% of our daily needs.
7. Strengthen immunity
Consuming tomatillos is good for boosting immunity. So, this is one of the foods that serves to increase the body’s immunity. It promotes the production of white blood cells. White blood cells are the main line of defense in the human body against the entry of pathogens.
In addition, vitamin C also plays a role in this, as an important component in producing collagen. The function of collagen is to form skin tissue, cell tissue, or the tissue that forms our vessels. This will improve the body’s metabolic function and in turn can provide extra health.
8. Increase stamina
Another usefulness of tomatillo is boosting the body’s energy, you can increase the stamina by eat this fruit. The content of niacin which is part of the B vitamin family is an important element in enzymatic processes, this is the process of breaking down complex molecules into energy. Niacin is found in the tomatillo fruit, so eating this fruit regularly is good for health by increasing the energy supply for daily activities.
Also see: Velvet Leaf Health Benefits
9. The benefits of tomatillos for bone density
The tomatillo fruit contains 13.3 g of vitamin K, which means that it meets about 11.08% of the daily recommended value. The benefits of vitamin K not only increase the clotting of red blood cells but also help in increasing the amount of specific proteins, and this is important for maintaining bone calcium and reducing osteoporosis.
Research on vitamin K shows that this vitamin is useful for preventing bone loss. So what does this have to do with calcium, which we often hear to strengthen bones? The body needs vitamin K to be able to use calcium in building bones.
So, healthy bones need calcium, but calcium will not be able to build bones without vitamin K. So, the presence of vitamin K is as important as calcium or even more important is vitamin K.
How to Eat
– Tomatillo is the main ingredient in sauce preparation in Mexico
– Usually, these berries are used in enchilada verde sauce.
– How to prepare salsa verde, the way is green tomatoes are cooked and mashed, mixed with roasted jalapenos, onions, garlic, and seasonings like tortillas, seafood and fritters, etc.
– Guacamole is a popular, avocado-based Mexican spread, prepared with sliced tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, lime juice, and served on tortilla chips.
– Also, tomatillos are used in stews and sauces for meat dishes.
– It is also served as jam and marmalades.