Wednesday, July 11, 2012

More Backyard Edibles: Wild Tomatillos

So this spring both my back yard as well as my next door neighbors yard were covered and I mean covered in these weird weeds. 
They looked vaguely like a tomato plant that grew along the ground and not up and down. We pulled most of them up leaving a small patch between our yards. 
Recently while sitting at her patio table I noticed familiar balloon sacs growing all through this weed. 
I only know of one plant that has those balloon sacs and so I decided to let them grow a bit more and then see how they look. Today I went and pulled open one of the sacs and saw a familiar green fruit growing inside. I split it open and saw it was indeed a tomatillo. Now given that tomatillos are in the nightshade family I wanted to be darned sure of what I had. I compared it to pictures online but the leaves looked slightly off. So I tried "wild tomatillos". BINGO! 
As it turns out wild tomatillos, or Physalis longifolia, has over 14 compounds naturally occurring in the plant that are now being researched for their cancer preventing and fighting properties. Preliminary findings have been in lab animals which show their cancer tumors retreating and even disappearing in some cases. 
So this little plant, the domestic variety of which makes up the main staple of most Mexican and South West sauces, and salsas... is also one of our best defenders against the most life threatening disease. This wild tasty fruit that I found growing in my backyard is one of my best defenses against cancer.  What's in your backyard???

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