Thursday, October 6, 2011

Of Tomatillos and Joey

I have a pig named Joey. Handsome boy isn't he?

Joey unfortunately has an affinity for grain.  Sadly, I guess I have encouraged this by giving in to his whoops and squeals when he felt that the veg and fruit diet wasn't sufficient.

It got out of control. This summer when Dr Reid, my awesome large animal vet from Dunnville came out for his annual "Joey" visit, he made it clear. " Joey is40-50 lbs overweight. No more grain"

Oh wow. That's a whole lot of weight to lose. Try selling that one to Joey.

It hasn't been his favourite task.  But he is getting there...the bulges are receding. That handsome piggly shape is reappearing.  And despite the less frequent protestations, he is seeming more pleasant.  Happier.

And a happy pig makes a happy Mama. That's me!

He has eaten a lot of tomatoes since the diet began. You know, the split one, the guts from the ones remaining after I saved the seed, those with bad spots.
Slurp! He loved them all.

He also enjoyed the apples from my trees, the weeds from the garden (although not so much) and some older lettuces.  

The cabbage family he doesn't do, so that all goes to the chickens. He just simply would never eat cabbage, and clever he is. Dr Reid told me it's a good thing, as cabbage, kale, broccoli and the like are somewhat toxic to pigs and can make them sick. 

Joey's no fool. 

But now we're late in the season. The tomatoes got a slight hit of frost last night and the end is in sight.

So tonight in desperation I threw him in some tomatillos from my bumper crop. 

And he liked them!  Yahoo- Joey likes tomatillos!

Tomatillos are one of about 100 members of the physalis family. Others you may know and love are the ground cherry and my personal favourite the Cape Gooseberry. So yummy.

Tomatillos have a pleasant lemony-herbal flavour, and are generally cooked. When used raw, as my mom frequently did, they have a sharper, more acidic flavour. 

And they grow like gangbusters. Tomatillos are one of those garden plants that always self seed. I frequently tell people that if i didn't pull them out, I would just be Tree and Twig Tomatillo Farm.  They would just take over.

Joey just gets them straight up. Frankly, he doesn't even care if I strip off the husk.

But if you're getting lots of tomatillos from your garden, the market or even from's a great recipe to give a try. As great as Salsa verde is, tomatillos can do more than that!

Diced Gazpacho Salad
(from Elizabeth Schneider's classic " Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables")

7 medium tomatillos, husks removed and rinsed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp oregano
1 handful parsley, not chopped
Black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 medium cucumber, seeded and cut into 1/4 " dice
1 large red bell pepper, diced into 1/2 "squares
1 small avocado, 1/2 " dice

1)Slice 2 tomatillos and combine in processor with salt, oregano, parsley and black pepper. Chop fine.Add oil and blend. Cut remaining tomatillos in 1/2 " dice.

2) Combine diced tomatillos, onion, cucumber and red pepper in a serving dish; toss with dressing. Add avocado and toss gently. Cover and chill for about 1 hour before serving.


1 comment:

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