Tomatillos are a smaller version of red, round tomatoes.
False – Though similar in appearance to tomatoes, tomatillos are a member of the gooseberry family and covered with paper-thin husks. The fruit turns yellow when ripe, though most are prepared unripe (green ranging to a greenish-purple) for use in fresh salsas, sauces, stews, and salads. A staple in Mexican diets, tomatillos have burst onto the international food scene with gusto.
According to Batriz, the popularity of tomatillos has spiked dramatically over the last few years. “We couldn’t keep up this year,” she admits. “People were calling us for tomatillos left and right; it was one of the biggest-selling items this season.”
Chris Ciruli, chief operating officer of Tubac, AZ-based Ciruli Brothers, agrees, noting that “demand for tomatillos is growing fast, particularly in the foodservice sector, with the retail sector close behind.” He points to restaurant chains like Chipotle, known for made-to-order food, which have helped put tomatillo-based salsas on the food map. Demand has been further boosted by the foodie culture, as well as social and mainstream media.
A traditional “comfort food” meal in Puerto Rican culture is pastelón, similar to lasagna. Instead of noodles, however, the dish calls for long slices of plantains.
True – There are many ways to use plantains, or plátanos; they can be eaten ripe (maduros) when dark brown or nearly black, or unripe (verdes) when still green or slightly yellow. Pastelón is indeed very similar to lasagna, complete with ground meat and cheese. The key difference is the use of lightly fried slices of fully ripened plantains instead of noodles.
Unlike the banana, its sweeter cousin, the plantain is nearly always cooked: fried, boiled, mashed, or added to soups and stews. Among the most popular ways to serve plantains are thickly sliced and fried twice—these are tostones, patacones, or tostadas, depending on which country you’re in—or very thinly sliced and fried once—called mariquitas in Cuba, platanutres in Puerto Rico, chifles in Peru, and platanitos in Colombia. Over the past decade, plantains have appeared on more U.S. restaurant menus and in supermarkets. These days, it’s the odd-grocer out who doesn’t have at least a few plantains on display.
Mexico is the world’s top exporter of mangos.
True – Considered the world’s most popular fruit, mangos originated in Asia, most likely India, and are actually related to cashews and pistachios. Although India still leads global production, mangos are considered a symbol of love and much of the fruit is consumed within the country.