Tomatillo help needed

I have several dozen tomatillo plants in my garden. The last time I grew them, they grew into little stubby 12" bushes that didn't do much. This time, they are 4-5 feet tall and the same in diamater. They are loaded with little paper lantern things with little tomatillos inside:
http://zootal.no-ip.info/stuff/2006%20August%2010%20Garden/images/DSCF4443.jpg
I have hundreds of these (fruit, not bushes)! Question - when do you pick them? How do you tell if they are ripe and ready to harvest? And lastly, does anyone have any recipes they would like to share? I grew these on a whim and had no idea they would grow so well, I'm not quite sure what to do with them :~|. They are just as prolific as my tomatoes, and have taken over a few areas of the garden because I planted them too close to other things because I didn't know they would get so big LOL.
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"Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> wrote in message

IMO, a good website for recipes, that allows you to search by ingredients you have on hand, is allrecipes.com
I did a quick search of tomatillos:
http://search.allrecipes.com/recipe/ingadv.asp?i1=tomatillos&n1=&q1=&i2=&n2=&i3=&n3=&i4=&n4=&siteidR&srt=1&Submit=GO
-- Tara
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Matthew Reed wrote:

I made a bunch of this when I grew tomatillos a couple of years ago. It's very tasty, and it won a blue ribbon at the county fair.
Tomatillo Salsa Verde
6 1/2    pounds tomatillos -- chopped large 1 1/2    pounds mixed green chiles 1/2     pound chopped yellow onion 1    cup lemon juice or vinegar [I used white vinegar] 1    tsp. garlic powder 2    Tbsp. dried oregano 2    Tbsp. salt 1    Tbsp. whole black pepper
Combine all ingredients in a large covered saucepan and cook over low heat until mixture begins to boil; simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Liquefy with a "stick blender" and bring back to a boil. Ladle hot salsa into hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a steam pressure canner at 10 pounds for 20 or 25 minutes for pints or quarts, respectively. Makes about 8 pints.
--
Best regards,
Bob

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Awesome, thanks for the recipe and detailed instructions. I have about 500 quart and pint jars in my basement, and I'm going to fill as many as I can :)
When do you harvest the tomatillos? How do you tell if they are ready to pick?
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Matthew Reed wrote:

When they are fully ripe, they fall off. I like to pick them a little before that. Pick them when the paper husk cracks and the fruit inside is starting to yellow a little (but it'll still be green, not really yellow) and you'll be pretty close.
I used mixed jalapeno and serrano peppers when I made it.
Bob
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They have a ways to go I'd guess. The husks are quite large, and only half full. I think I have a bumper tomatillo crop heading my way :)
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Matthew Reed wrote:

Do tomatillos take up a lot of room in a garden? I bought some seeds this past spring and noted that the package says to plant them in the fall. I have a very small yard (35'x 35') so I don't have a lot of space to devote to any one thing. But given that I can't buy them here (I live in France) my only way to get them is grow them myself. I was thinking of trying them in large pots. I currently have two pots with parsnips growing in them and they seem to be doing well. (Parsnips are also very hard to find here.)
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horselover wrote:

They grow about like large sprawling tomato plants. You need more than one tomatillo plant for pollination. Fall sounds like the worst possible time to plant them. I plant them indoors early in the spring, but you can also direct-sow them when the soil starts to warm.
Bob
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zxcvbob wrote:

We have what I think of as warm winters here - never a day when the temp stays below freezing. I think of the winter here as 5 months of early spring! I'd guess this climate is equivalent to zone 9. Does this make enough difference to allow fall planting. The seed package says to plant them in the fall, so I'm guessing they have some reason to say that.
I was wondering if I'd need to plant two. Good to realize that they are like tomatoes - not a surprise, I guess. Thanks!
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