The right way to cut a tomato

It doesn't seem like it should be hard to cut a tomato: procure tomato and then apply knife, right? It's not so simple, thanks to the structure of the plump red fruit. It has a core, but if you remove it straight away you'll likely encounter a familiar mess: clumps of tomato guts — tomato seeds — coming loose from the acidic flesh until you're left with a mushy mess. So how do you cut a tomato the right way for neat, circular slices that you can lay across a sandwich, or firm little wedges to add a little color to your salads?

The right knife for cutting tomatoes is key

If you've been ending up with a cutting board that's a mess with tomato guts (those seeds and goo are sometimes called caviar, according to The Kitchn, by the way), it's possible that that's because you're using the wrong knife. What you want is something with a serrated blade. Any kind will do — steak, bread, or boning knives are all good choices — just make sure it's a toothed blade.

You can use a straight blade, but if you do then you need to make sure it's extra sharp, or it won't get through the tomato's relatively tough skin. Using a dull blade is a mistake many people make, and it's also a sure way to end up with a bruised tomato or a big mess to clean up. 

Cut perfect tomato slices and wedges

Once you have a serrated or super-sharp knife, you're going to use the core of the tomato — that firm bit that runs from the stemmed top to the bottom of the fruit — to your advantage. If you want to cut tomato slices, The Kitchn recommends situating your clean, de-stemmed tomato sidewise on the board, and then trimming the top (now facing to the side) away. Make your slices as parallel to that as you can, and whatever thickness you prefer.

For wedges, you're going to start the same way — by trimming the stem remnant away — before situating the tomato vertically on your cutting board. Then you'll cut your tomato in half, place the halves flat side down, and then cut straight from stem-end to bottom to quarter the fruit. If you want smaller wedges, simply repeat the process! Just make sure you're always cutting vertically through the core to keep the wedges well-structured. 

How to dice a tomato, or cut the seeds out

If you want diced tomatoes for salad, this is pretty easy cut to make. You'll simply cut some tomato slices the way that we outlined above, lay them out flat on your cutting board, and cut them into the desired cube size. Easy enough, right?

There's definitely more than one way to cut up a tomato, and if diced, sliced, or wedged isn't what your dish is calling for, then you may want to get a little more creative. 

Certain recipes may benefit from a tomato that has been deseeded. Yes, we know there are a lot of seeds in a tomato, but before you throw your hands up in frustration and reach for the phone to order take out, hold up a second. Getting those seeds out of a tomato actually isn't all that difficult.

Depending on how large your tomato is, you should begin by cutting it into six to eight wedges without first removing the core (via My Recipes). Once you have your wedges cut, hold a wedge by the core and carefully slice out the tomato's seed pocket. Another method is to cut your tomato in half, and then with a knife, slice inward and around the inside the tomato. You can then use a spoon to scoop the seeded section right out. 

You can also peel a tomato

So you've sliced, diced, and deseeded a tomato with success. Congrats! You're now ready for the tomato peel. Tomato peels can be unpleasant to eat in certain recipes, such as pasta sauces, and peeling them is often recommended. A tomato's skin is incredibly thin so you won't be peeling it the same way you might an apple. Using a sharp knife, slice an X onto the bottom of each tomato and place them in a colander. 

You'll then want to boil some water and pour it over the tomatoes which will loosen up the skin. You'll then be able to easily peel the tomatoes, starting at the X, and then you can dice and slice away. 

With the right knife and the right technique, you'll soon be cutting your fresh tomatoes perfectly every time, and they'll be ready to be put to good use in tons of tasty recipes.