How To Cut a Tomato for Salads, Sandwiches, and More
You might be thinking, “knowing how to cut a tomato, isn’t that difficult”, and you’d be right! That said, though, it’s important to know how to cut a tomato for the particular dish or snack you plan on making. If you’re just cutting tomatoes for something like tomato sauce, for example, the method doesn’t matter so much.
Use the Right Knife for Cutting Tomatoes
First off, let’s talk knife choice. Unless you have razor-sharp regular knives, a serrated knife with teeth that can grab and cut through the thin skin of a tomato is your best bet. Any serrated knife, like a bread knife or even a steak knife, is a good choice.
Understand Tomato Structure
After you have the right knife, it’s time to think about how a tomato is structured. There’s a fleshy core than runs from the top of the tomato where the stem is all the way to the bottom. From the core, more flesh grows out to the edge of the tomato like spokes on a wheel. Finally, the tomato’s seeds and jelly-like substance (sometimes called “tomato seed caviar”) fill in the gaps between the spokes.
More complicated than you realize, right? The good thing is, knowing how these parts come together means you can cut the tomato the right way so that the different sections of the tomato stay together and don’t fall apart.
Here are the three most common ways to cut up fresh tomatoes and the best way to do them.
How to Cut Tomato Slices
1. Place the tomato on its side.
Place the tomato on its side so that the stem end faces to the left or right. Face it right if you’re right-handed, left if you’re a lefty.
2. Cut off a small slice of the tomato.
Cut off a small slice of the tomato parallel to the stem and top of the tomato to trim that part off.
3. Slice the rest of the tomato.
How to Cut Tomato Wedges
Next up is wedges for salad. The goal here is to keep the tomato jelly and seeds in their little pockets, so the method of cutting is just like how you would cut an apple or orange into wedges.
1. Remove the stem.
Place the tomato stem-side up on the cutting board and remove any green stems.
2. Cut the tomato in half.
Cut straight down through spot where the stem was to the bottom of the tomato, cutting it in half.
3. Quarter the tomato.
Halve each half through the stem again so that you now have four equal pieces.
4. Cut the tomato into wedges.
How to Cut Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
Last but not least come our small friends: grape tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. It’s doubtful you would ever need to cut these into tiny slices, as they’re usually halved or quartered.
1. Slice the tomato in half through the stem end.
When cutting cherry and grape tomatoes, always cut through the stem end — this makes for uniform-looking pieces. Don’t cut them in half the other way (parallel to the stem), because that means one half has the unattractive stem part while the other half doesn’t.
2. Quarter the tomatoes.
If you want smaller pieces, simply cut each half in half again, also cutting through the stem end.
Once you get the hang of cutting tomatoes, it’ll become second nature and you’ll end up with gorgeous pieces every time without even having to think about it!