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 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.

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. With the right knife and the right technique, you'll soon be cutting your fresh, tasty tomatoes perfectly every time.