New Reasons to Love Home-Grown Tomatoes

Thursday, June 11, 2009

What you need to know about tomato safety and the recent salmonellosis outbreak. Plus, more than 30 recipes for safe tomato dishes and tomato-free alternatives.

A recent nationwide outbreak of salmonellosis has been linked to certain raw red tomatoes and products containing them. Although the specifics are still under investigation, here is what you need to know:

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is advising that consumers limit their consumption of raw tomatoes to cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, tomatoes with the vine still attached and tomatoes grown at home. These tomatoes are not the likely source of this outbreak.

Avoid raw red plum, Roma or round tomatoes if you do not know what state/country they come from, as only tomatoes from certain states/countries are presently associated with the outbreak.

The FDA recommends eating raw red plum, Roma and round tomatoes ONLY only if grown and harvested from the areas that HAVE NOT BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH THE OUTBREAK. Find an updated list of states and countries on the FDA's website.

As of June 11, 2009, the source of contamination is not confirmed.

As for farmers' markets, some farmers' markets get their tomatoes from sources other than local farms. These other sources may include the same ones that provided the tomatoes implicated in the Salmonella outbreak. At this time, buying the types of tomatoes that are linked to this outbreak at a farmer's market instead of a grocery store, for example, is not a guarantee that the tomatoes are safe. Consumers should ask retailers at farmers' markets what the sources of their tomatoes are.

Find more information from the FDA or the Centers for Disease Control.

What to do in the meantime? Try these recipes:

Main-dish recipes with cherry or grape tomatoes:

  • *Bistro Beef Salad
  • *Chicken, Broccoli Rabe & Feta on Toast
  • *Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter
  • *Korean-Style Steak & Lettuce Wraps 
  • *Linguine with Escarole & Shrimp
  • *Linguine with Roasted Summer Vegetables
  • *Quinoa & Smoked Tofu Salad
  • *Shrimp Cobb Salad
  • *Smoked Salmon Salad Nicoise
  • *Tilapia & Summer Vegetable Packets
  • *Zucchini Frittata


Side-salad recipes with cherry or grape tomatoes:

  • *Chickpea Salad
  • *Corn, Arugula & Tomato Salad
  • *Garden Pasta Salad
  • *Green Salad with Asparagus & Peas
  • *Salad of Boston Lettuce with Creamy Orange-Shallot Dressing
  • *Warm Arugula


Bread Salad Salsa substitute recipes:

  • *Avocado & Corn Salsa
  • *Citrus Salsa
  • *Grilled Tomatillo Salsa
  • *Mango-Radish Salsa
  • *Pineapple & Jalapeño Salsa
  • *Roasted Corn Salsa
  • *Watermelon Salsa


Instead of raw tomato sauces, try these recipes for:

  • *Basic Basil Pesto
  • *Cilantro & Pumpkin Seed Pesto
  • *Cilantro Pesto
  • *Herb-Almond Pesto
  • *Tarragon Pesto


Tomatoless pizza recipes:

  • *French Onion Pizza
  • *Greens & Gorgonzola Pizza
  • *Pear & Blue Cheese Flatbread
  • *Thai Chicken Pizza
  • *Wild Mushroom & Sage Pizza