Whether you’re making salsa, a salad or burgers, it’s important to know how to cut tomatoes. Otherwise, your dish could end up a mess of red pulp and mushy slices.
The key is to use a sharp knife, which will pass through the tough skin but not squash the soft inside fruit. Be sure to keep the knife you use for cutting tomatoes regularly sharpened.
Cut the Top Off
Topping a tomato plant is the process of removing all actively growing tips once it has reached the top of its cage or stake. This helps the plant direct more of its energy towards ripening fruits.
Topping tomatoes is also a good way to get extra fruits before the weather cools down. It is particularly effective when a plant gets too tall and leggy, or when it hasn’t produced much fruit.
Cut the top off of a determinate tomato about a month before it usually reaches the point where the first frost normally hits. This will keep it a manageable size, allow the ripening fruits to withstand the cold weather, and encourage new growth.
Topping a determinate tomato plant involves cutting off the main stem 1/4 inch below where a side shoot diverges from the main vertical shoot. This will reduce re-growth and focus light and energy on ripening fruits, while also keeping the main stem healthy.
Cut Into Slices
Tomatoes are one of the most beloved fresh fruits of summer, but cutting them correctly can be a challenge. The thin skin and juicy interior of tomatoes make them difficult to cut without squishing or breaking apart.
A sharp knife and a steady cutting board are essential for easy, uniform cuts. A serrated knife is a great choice for making thin slices, but you can also use a regular chef’s knife if you prefer.
Start by setting your tomato on its side and firmly but gently gripping it with your non-cutting hand. Using a serrated knife, begin making slices starting at the stem end and working your way down to the base of the tomato.
If you’re planning on using the tomato in a recipe, consider removing the core and seeds before slicing or cutting it into wedges. This can keep the recipe from becoming mushy or watery.
Cut Into Wedges
Tomato wedges are a great way to add texture and variety to a salad. You can serve them on their own or mix them with spiralized cucumbers, red onion and feta cheese for a summery salad.
To cut a tomato into wedges, start by removing any green stems that remain on the tomato. Then, using a serrated knife, cut the tomato in half vertically and then again to make quarters.
Next, cut diagonally through the skin of each quarter to create a wedge shape. Each wedge should be about the same thickness as an orange slice.
Tomato wedges can be used in place of sliced tomatoes for sandwiches and other dishes, or they can be sliced crosswise to form diced tomatoes. You can also use them to build caprese skewers or to top avocado toast with balsamic glaze.
Cut Into Dice
To cut tomatoes into dice, you first need to remove the stem and wash each tomato thoroughly. Use a very sharp chef’s knife or a small serrated knife to make the cuts without denting or squishing the delicate skin of the tomato.
Next, trim away any stickers from the outside of the tomato. This will ensure that your tomatoes have a clean, fresh look and taste when you cut them into dice.
Once the tomato is cut, you can stack them on top of each other so that they appear to be whole. This is the best way to cut them into dices.
Once you have stacked the slices, slice them crosswise into sticks (professional chefs call these batons). A smaller dice will produce thinner sticks, while a larger dice will yield thicker ones.