May 28, 2011 11:31 AM
Tomatillo and Lime Jam
POSTED IN: Recipes , Salsas, Pickles and Jams
TAGS: jam , jelly , lime , preserves , spread , tomatillo , tomatillo jam
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I began to see the exotic side of the tomatillo once in the US.

Growing up in Mexico, they were a standard at every market, part of our weekly mandado, present in our family meals at least half a dozen times a week: in salsa verde to pour on top of almost everything, in enchiladas, chilaquiles, bathing fish, covering a shredded meat and potato stew, and sometimes cactus paddles.

Think something like salt ... how odd it is to find a kitchen without salt?

Once we moved to Texas, the only place I could find them was in Latino stores. As the years moved on, there was no one I met without a Mexican connection who had ever cooked with a tomatillo or even dared to bring one home.

Sure, many people love salsa verde and eat it in restaurants or buy a jar at the store, but few know that its star ingredient, is the tomatillo.

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Ok, I get it.

It's hard to tell what a gorgeous creature the tomatillo is from the outside. With its papery husk specked with dust that sticks to the sticky and seemingly mossy skin...  So fifteen years later, now that they are not only in Latino stores but also in mainstream ones, its no surprise to see that not many people place them in their baskets.

But, husked and rinsed, stripped down to their natural glory, tomatillos are a stunner. Bright and crisp, smooth and shinny, with a firmer flesh than the tomato and with an unmatchable tart flavor, they are stars undercover waiting to be discovered.

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Amazing it is, that I realized how unique they are once outside of Mexico. Moreover, how versatile they can be. Not only for salty spins, but for sweet ones too. And always, so easy to use. I've now used them cooked and raw, in sauces, stews, salads and one of my favorites: Jam.

The brilliant and adventurous Mexican Chef Enrique Olvera first introduced me to the sweet spin of tomatillos, when he came to DC to cook for a special event at the Institute. He and his sous chef, prepared a quick tomatillo jam made with water, vinegar and sugar and served it with a variety of cheeses and crackers. Heavenly!

Playing with his idea, being a fan of the combination of the tartness of the tomatillo with the tangy taste from citrus, after quite a few tries I found what has now become a staple in our home. A tomatillo and lime jam.

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All you do is dice those tomatillos, place them in a medium sauce pan along with the sugar, and the lime rind. You can add the rind in a long single piece or you can cut it into little pieces, which I am now getting fond of as you can enjoy those delicious bites later on.

Cover with water... 

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Add a pinch of salt, to balance things out in that pan...

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Bring it all to a medium simmer, and let it thicken until it has a thin and loose jam consistency. Keep an eye on it as it does, and stir here and there... Don't let it thicken too much because it will thicken as it cools.

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That's all there is to it!

See how amazed I am by its beauty and flavor, that I can't help but keep on adding more and more photos in here...

Well, I also love that set of plates my sister Alisa gave me for my birthday and think they photograph so beautifully.

Tomatillo Jam 6b.JPGYou can have the jam with a piece of toast as you sip your morning coffee (fine, or tea too...), spoon it over a piece of pound cake, serve it as an exotic side to your appetizer cheese platter...

Or, why not? Just spoon it right into your mouth. Like I do. You will bite not only those delicious tomatillo seeds covered in that sweet, tart, tangy jam, but you will also get those irresistibly bitter caramelized pieces of lime rind. 

The beauty of the tomatillo, becomes increasingly exposed...

Mermelada de Tomate Verde con Limón
Makes about 1 1/4 cups

1 lb tomatillos, husks removed, rinsed and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 tbsp fresh squeezed lime juice
Rind of a lime
A pinch of salt

Place all of the ingredients in a saucepan set over medium-high heat. Let the mixture come to a simmer and stir occasionally, letting it cook until it has thickened and achieved a soft jam consistency.


The jam looks so good! I can't wait to try it!

Sara | June 13, 2011 11:13 AM

I am making this again and my house smells like heaven. Thank you!

Megan Schwitzing | June 21, 2011 6:57 PM

Hola Pati,
My daughter and I enjoy watching your show. Very easy to do receipes and authentic. I just watched the show on cinnamon. I was impressed on the receipe for horchata. My daughter said we could make mom. I will also try to make the cookies in the fall. Will you ever come and visit Chicago,Illinois for a cooking demonstration. We have a beautiful Mexican Fine Arts Museum and a large mexican population here. Congratulations on your show Pati's Mexican Table.

Thank you
Marilu Paz

Marilu | June 23, 2011 1:37 PM

Hi Marilu, I'm glad you are enjoying the show! And I would love to do a cooking demonstration in Chicago! I'll let you know if I can make it happen!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Marilu | June 28, 2011 2:18 PM

Just saw this on TV . I am looking forward to making it...I used to grow Tomotillos...I have a nice lime tree , I'll have to find some plants..maybe seeds...Thanks

George Maznicki | June 28, 2011 7:39 PM

Hi Pati,
I made some of this tomatillo jam yesterday and really love it, especially with cream cheese. I'm wondering if you have tried making it with honey rather than sugar. I know that honey is sweeter than sugar and also acidic. Would you suggest reducing the amount of lime juice when using honey? I've also seen recommendations of adding baking soda. Which would you suggest?
Thanks, I enjoy your show.

richard mace | July 11, 2011 2:00 PM

Hi Richard, I'm so happy to hear that you really enjoyed the jam. It is quite a delicious treat. Typically jams and marmalade are always made with sugar, but that shouldn't stop you from being creative. Please let me know if you make the jam with honey. I'd love to hear if you like it. Also, if you use honey, I would keep the amount of lime juice the same. The lime juice enhances the tartness of the jam. Happy cooking!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from richard mace | July 21, 2011 11:04 AM

I love your program, but since they changed the channel i cannot find your program..could you tell me what channel and time you are on...AND i love the Tomatillo and Line Jam, it's delicious...

Ellie Davis | July 23, 2011 6:15 PM

HI Ellie, Here is a link that has links to the public tv stations across the country that run the show. Also, if you have Create TV, then this link will be useful for you: Let me know if you find it. (I hope you do!)

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Ellie Davis | July 28, 2011 12:24 PM

Pati, this is great! As I live in New Mexico, I must have chile in everything, so I cooked thin slices of a jalapeño along with it. YUM! Your program is fantastic.

Mikki Aronoff | September 3, 2011 1:52 PM

Hi Pati....just made your Tomatillo and Lime Jam. Delicioso! Do you have other suggestions of how to use it besides with cream cheese & on toast/poundcake?
Your show is so interesting....the recipes & the stories you tell....thank you! Do you ever come to Washington state? We live on an island, Whidbey. It's beautiful & a great place for outdoor adventures. Take care

Dona Rientjes | September 10, 2011 10:21 PM

Hola Dona, Glad you like the recipe! You can put the jam on cheese, crackers, cookies or anything of your liking. Experiment with your favorite flavors. I have been to Washington state, and it is beautiful! I went to Seattle many years ago and went to a fabulous Mexican restaurant, but I can't remember the name of it...

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Dona Rientjes | September 14, 2011 11:56 AM

Hello Pati,

Have you ever canned your tomatillo jam? If so, is there any additions I should make to the recipe for canning? Thank you.

Ann-Marie Valdez | September 19, 2011 5:56 PM

Dear Pati, I have made your jam 4 times in the last few months - even mailed it to several relatives in other states. I double the recipe each time. I add 1-2 chiles serranos for each pound of tomatillos. My husband is Mexican and all his life ate only strawberry jam - now he only eats your tomatillo jam.
Best to you, Maxine

Maxine Adler-Pou | February 6, 2012 12:31 AM

I am so excited to hear that you and your husband love the tomatillo and lime jam Maxine!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Maxine Adler-Pou | February 6, 2012 1:30 PM

Made a double batch yesterday and spiced it up with two serrano peppers per pound of tomatillos and used key limes instead of regular limes. What a great jam...soooo good with cream cheese on anything!! Will certainly be making this again but will experiment with various changes in the peppers used to create differing heat up, habanero pepper!

Gerry Hart | May 8, 2012 9:30 AM

Sounds great Gerry!!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Gerry Hart | May 9, 2012 3:29 PM

Ilove chile in everthing goin to make this been wantin a recipe for jam I was at Farmers market they had something like this but expensive goin to make it thank you.

maywee | July 16, 2012 1:48 PM

Enjoy maywee!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from maywee | July 16, 2012 5:11 PM

Hi Pati! After seeing you make this on your program yesterday, I am just setting this jam to simmer. Smells heavenly. Anything with lime in it always does. Can't wait to taste this. You mentioned you tried this with figs. It was not a success? I love figs too. Anyway, thanks for all your creative recipes and especially for your exuberant personality and enthusiasm for teaching!

Karen Willoughby | July 16, 2012 7:02 PM

Hola Karen, Thank you for your comment! Yes, I did try it with figs first. I felt that with the figs it tasted too one dimensional. The sweetness of the figs overpowered the jam, and I was looking for something with more contrast. :)

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Karen Willoughby | July 19, 2012 10:55 AM

Can you process this in a water bath and can it?

Beth | September 7, 2012 4:16 PM

Yes you can!

Pati Jinich replied to comment from Beth | September 8, 2012 5:10 PM

I just finished making the jam. I simmered for about 20 minutes and it never got past the syrup stage. It is now cool and still at same stage. What went wrong? Can I cut down some on the sugar? Even as syrup, it is still delicious. I am passing your site to my kids that also love mexican food.

LaVonne Bell | September 21, 2012 12:33 PM