Tomatillo vs Ground Cherry: Difference and Comparison

Tomatillo and Ground Cherry are both plants that are related to the popular plant Tomato. These are popular in the use of various savoury dishes and even in some desserts as well.


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They can also be grown in the home garden as well. But one should know their allergies and only try them after full knowledge. The family of Tomatillo and Ground Cherry is the same as that of the Physalis family.

They both are fruits contrary to what one would think. The taste is close to tomatoes, but the main flavour still has its differences. They are filled with antioxidants, vitamins, and many other nutrients required by the body.

Key Takeaways

  1. Tomatillos are larger than ground cherries and have a tart, tangy flavor with a papery husk, whereas ground cherries have a sweet, tropical taste with a papery husk.
  2. Tomatillos are commonly used in Mexican cuisine for dishes such as salsa verde and pozole, while ground cherries are used in jams, pies, and desserts.
  3. Tomatillos are green, while ground cherries are golden-orange when fully ripe.

Tomatillo vs Ground Cherry

Tomatillos are a type of small green tomato with a papery husk and are commonly used in Mexican cuisine, having a slightly citrusy taste. Ground cherries are small yellow or orange fruit with a sweet and tangy flavour, and are eaten fresh or used in jams and pies, having a sweet and tangy flavour.

Tomatillo vs Ground Cherry

Tomatillo is a plant that is quite a staple in Mexican cuisine. It is part of a large nightshade family that is home to many plants. They are mostly green in color, but other forms are also available that are purple and yellow color.

Ground Cherry is a plant planted mainly in the spring season or in warm weather that is more fruiter and sweet in comparison to other varieties that sit the Physalis genus. The end flavour would be tangy. These are popular in sweet dishes, especially in pies, and can even be eaten raw.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison TomatilloGround Cherry
Other namesHusk Tomato, Mexican ground cherry, etc.Cape Gooseberry, Ground Cherry.
Color Tomatillos are green in color, and other varieties include yellow and purple. Ground Cherry is mostly either orange or yellow when ripe.
Size in inches18 to 36 inches1/2 to 3/4 inches
Botanical NamePhysalis ixocarpa BotanicalPhysalis pruinosa, Physalis peruviana, or Physalis Virginiana.
Varieties Mexican, Pineapple, Purple de Milpa, and many more.Aunt Molly’s, Goldie’s, and Cossak pineapple.
Food DishesUsed in making different sauces, soups, salsa, curries, etc.Used in the making of pies, salsas, salads, tarts, etc.

What is Tomatillo?

The name Tomatillo comes from Spanish, meaning “little tomatoes.” The fruit is used in various dishes, popularly in Mexican cuisine in foods like soup, salsa, chutneys, etc. The plant is grown mostly in the states of Mexico and then the United States.

The image of the plant is similar to a tomato, an unripe one. It can be eaten raw as well as cooked. There aren’t many calories in Tomatillo, thus making it a good option for people on diets. The plant cannot be grown on its own and need at least two or three species of the same plant for pollination.

There are other names that the fruit is called in, for example, Mexican green tomato,large-flowered Tomatillo, Mexican ground Cherry, miltomate, and many more. The most common dish made out of the plant is “Salsa Verde,” alongside being in numerous other dishes in Mexican cuisine.


What is Ground Cherry?

Ground Cherry is a plant belonging to the Physalis genus. The name is said to be known as it is said that the plant used to touch the ground once it became ripe. It is a fruit that can be eaten either raw or cooked.

It is filled with many vitamins and other important nutrients like calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and many more. The plant does not require exterior roots to grow as they grow their own while being harvested in the process.

The whole plant grows to a maximum of 15 inches and looks like a shrub. The plant’s flavour is mild and a little sweet and savoury, making it great for making desserts like pies, tarts, and cakes. Other than that, it is also used in savoury dishes as well.

The plant is not that common but is slightly being recognized nowadays. They are very tiny, like Cherry tomatoes, and are full of flavour. The Ground cherry is covered in a husk. The husk can be used as a garnish or decoration while plating the dish involving Ground Cherries.

ground cherry

Main Differences Between Tomatillo and Ground Cherry

  1. Tomatillo is green in color, while in comparison, Ground Cherry is either red or orange in their riped version of the plant.
  2. Tomatillo is bigger in size than Ground Cherry. Ground Cherry is very small, like small cherries.
  3. Tomatillos are ready to pick when the plant is filled in its husk. On the other hand, Ground Cherries are picked when the husk of the plant is dried.
  4. The taste of Tomatillo is tart-like. On the contrary, Ground Cherry is somewhat sweet and sour in flavour. For this reason, Ground Cherry can also be eaten right after it is plucked from the plant.
  5. There are more varieties of Tomatilla in comparison to the number of varieties of Ground Cherry. Ground Cherry mainly has three varieties, whereas Tomatilla has more than six varieties, the most common being Amarilla, Gigante, Green Husk, and Mexican.
  6. The skin of a ripe Tomatillo would be sloppy or sticky, while the skin of a Ground Cherry is not sticky on the outside and instead is dry.
Difference Between Tomatillo and Ground Cherry

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