Tomato is such a staple ingredient in culinary arts. Many food recipes call for fresh tomatoes, from salsa to salads to sandwiches.
Turning a tomato into different shapes is an excellent practice for cooks that want to get better at using a chef’s knife. Chopping tomatoes and cut them into cubes or wedges are great ways to practice your knife skills. Here are different ways to cut a tomato and some helpful information about them.
Before cutting a tomato
Before you get started, make sure to use a sharp knife. Using an underperforming knife can tear the tomato’s skin. As tomato is a principal ingredient used in countless food recipes, you will want to preserve its look.
A knife that isn’t sharp enough may slide through the skin rather than cutting it, leading the blade’s edge to your fingers, resulting in injuries. For this reason, some prefer using a serrated knife to cut through tomatoes rather than using their chef’s knife. Regardless of the type of knife you’re using, you’ll cut tomatoes the same way.
Additionally, make sure the tomatoes you’re going to cut are free of any excess water after washing them. Give the tomatoes a little shake to get rid of the water that’s built up on the skin. Otherwise, the edge of the blade might slip and cause accidents.
Your cutting board also needs to be stable. If you’re making cuts that require precision, such as thin slices, even a little bit of movement can ruin the cuts altogether.
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Sliced tomatoes are mainly used in sandwiches and burgers, but you can also throw them on a light salad or eat them as they are as a light snack. Slicing a tomato is one of the easiest ways to prepare them that won’t take much time.
Here is how you cut tomatoes into slices:
- Lay the tomato on its side, and with your non-dominant hand holding it in place
- Slice it starting from the bottom.
- You can create thin or thick slices, whichever you prefer, but always make sure that every piece has the same girth.
Cutting tomatoes into wedges is also another time-efficient way to go about it. Use this cut for festive tomato wedges with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and chili powder. You can also use this cut for salads if you like your tomatoes to come in big chunks.
Here is how you cut tomatoes into wedges:
- Start turning a whole tomato into wedges but cutting it right through the middle.
- Open up the tomato and make another cut right in the middle along the membrane.
- With the four quarters you have, cut the tomato quarters in half.
- You’ll now have eight pieces of tomato wedges. You can continue cutting them from the middle to make even smaller wedges.
Tip: If cutting on the skin side is troublesome, cut from the inside of the tomato and use your non-dominant hand to keep it stable on the cutting board.
Many food recipes like Pico de Gallo and sautées call for chopped tomatoes. It’s the way to cut tomatoes if you want them smaller for foods like tacos.
Here is how you cut tomatoes into cubes:
- Start cutting a tomato into cubes by cutting the tomato in half.
- Lay the flat side on the board and make lengthwise cuts.
- Run the knife horizontally in the middle of the tomato and make your final cuts to turn them into cubes.
Don’t like tomato seeds? Julienne cut is one of the most efficient methods to cut tomatoes to get rid of them, and it’s also an aesthetically pleasing way to go about it.
Here is how to make Julienne cut:
- For julienne cuts, cut the tomato into quarters, and with the skin side on the cutting board.
- Remove the pockets that hold the seeds. You can also get rid of the green part, also known as the eye, while removing the seed pockets.
- With the seeds removed, make slim slices using the knife’s tip with the top or bottom side facing up for longer or on the sides for shorter strips.
Note that cooking a tomato will shrink it. So, you might want to go with longer cuts if you’re going to toss them into a chicken or meat sautée.
How to peel a tomato?
Whether you need to use tomatoes for canning or making puree, removing the skin can sound like a lot of work and intimidating for many. But, it doesn’t have to be. There is an easy method to remove tomato skin.
Remove the green eye of the tomato while it’s whole using a paring knife or a small vegetable knife. Do this by:
- Poking the top with the knife’s tip and rotating the tomato until it comes off.
- With that out of the way, make a small X at the bottom of the tomato. Careful not to go too deep. It should be a small cut over the skin, about one to two millimeters.
- Now that the tomatoes are ready, bring a large pot to a boil.
- Lower the tomatoes into the boiling water. You will notice the tomato is swelling up and the skin peeling back. This should be quick – in about 45 seconds or so.
- Remove the tomatoes after the skin peels back and throw them into a bowl of ice water until cool. The boiling water and the transition from hot to cold will shock the tomatoes, making it easier to peel the skin.
- Use your hands to peel off the tomato skin. If it doesn’t budge, use a paring knife to assist you.
- You can then cut the tomatoes in any way mentioned above.
How to seed a tomato?
Some recipes require tomatoes to be free from seeds and the surrounding juices. The seeds and the liquids can ruin the texture of the food you’re cooking and make it more watery than needed. Since simmering for long can mess up everything that goes into the pan, you’ll want to remove the seeds.
The easiest way to seed a tomato is to cut it in half and use a small spoon like a teaspoon to remove the seeds. You can also gently squeeze the tomato to do this faster.
Additionally, cutting tomatoes will dull the blades quicker than most other ingredients. We recommend regular honing to keep a knife sharp for longer. Looking for a knife that will hold a fine cutting edge? Check out our handmade knife collection.