How To Cut A Tomato And The Best Knife For The Job
Like most ingredients in the kitchen, there are specific ways you can cut a tomato. In fact the way you cut or slice will have an impact on the way the flavours are released, the texture of the food and of course the aesthetic result on the plate.
Furthermore, the tomato is one of the more distinguished (fruits, vegetables? What is a tomato? We’ll get to that in a minute) that even has its own tool. So what exactly is the best tomato knife for the job?
Before we get into exactly how to cut a tomato, our top 5 list will help ensure that you have the correct knife before you start.
Buying a Tomato Knife – Our Top 5 Picks
How To Cut a Tomato – Preparation
Delicious, juicy, ripe red tomatoes are a beautiful thing. During the summer, these delicious morsels ripen naturally in the heat and appear so succulent it is enough to make the mouth water just looking at them.
However, ripe tomatoes can easily bruise and / or mangle as you cut them, (if you do it the wrong way). The way you slice a tomato for cooking is different to the way you might cut them for salads or as a side.
So let’s take look at the best way to cut a tomato
Choosing the Right Knife
Our top 5 list above is a bit of a give away as to what is the best knife for slicing tomatoes.
Unless you have a razor sharp chef’s knife a serrated knife is the way to go. The teeth are able to grab and cut through the skin of the tomato and make very easy work without squashing and causing undue damage to it.
While any serrated knife, such as a bread knife can do the job, the size makes them less easy to manage with precision control. At the end of the day, the best tool for the job of cutting a tomato, is a tomato knife.
The Structure of the Tomato
Now that you have selected the right knife, (either from our best tomato knife list, or something you already own), it is time to think about how the tomato is structured. This will determine where and how you should cut it.
The fleshy Core
This runs from the stem right through to the bottom of the tomato.
The Juicy inner flesh
The tasty inner flesh grows out to the edge of the tomato just like spokes on a wheel.
The Tomato seed
The seeds and the jelly like fluid that fill the area between the spokes.
It is important to consider these parts when cutting the tomato. That way you will be able to cut it the right way to ensure that certain sections remain intact.
With that in mind, here are the 3 main ways you can cut or slice a tomato.
How to Cut a Tomato
1. The Tomato Slice
The tomato is a wonderful accompaniment to a burger filling, and of course is an integral part of the good old BLT.
When preparing a tomato for such purposes, you need to slice it.
Cutting against the core is the order of the day here. This ensures that each slice will have the “spokes” of the tomato flesh so that everything remains in place.
- First, the tomato has to be positioned on its side. Make sure that the stem end faces left to right or vice versa.
- Then cut a small slice of the tomato parallel to the stem.
- Next cut across the top of the tomato.
- Finally, make parallel cuts toward the bottom of the tomato to form slices. The thickness is down to personal choice, but too thin and the end result is flimsy and essentially less juicy.
2. Tomato Wedges
Tomato wedges are perfect for your salad. Your main aim here is to maintain the integrity of the tomato jelly and seeds on the inside of the wedge.
- This time the tomato is placed stem-side up on the cutting board. (Remove the green stems first).
- Cut straight down through the stem to the bottom of the tomato, essentially cutting the tomato in half.
- You then half each of the halves again, by cutting through the stem so that you have 4 equal sized and shaped pieces.
- If you have a large tomato, it may be possible to cut each of the 4 sections in half once more.
- There you have it, juicy wedges with tasty sections of skin and succulent jelly inside.
3. Grape or Cherry Tomatoes
Grape and cherry tomatoes have to be prepared in another way due to their size. Cutting these into slices would be rather pointless considering how small they are.
Always cut them into wedges and through the stem end to give a uniform finish. Or you can just get two plates and do it in the rather neat way shown in the video above.
TOP 5 TOMATO KNIVES REVIEWED
1. Rada Cutlery Tomato Slicer Knife
The Rada Cutlery Tomato slicer knife is exceptionally good value for money. With its low list price and positive reviews – it really is a hard one to beat.
Very sharp upon arrival, you will be able to use this tomato knife to easily cut or slice your way through a tomato the right way.
What we love about the Rada Cutlery Tomato Slicer knife
- Extremely good value
- Very sharp
- Comfortable handle (although could be longer)
- Made in the USA
The not so good points
When you are buying a knife on a budget it would be unwise to think that there isn’t better quality instruments available at a higher cost point. The cons of the Rada are:
- The aluminium handle does lose its colouration quite quickly turning from shiny to dulled looking metal, (which does look cheap). However, there is a black handled version available that is easier to maintain.
- The balance of the knife isn’t the best, and the overall weight does feel flimsy when compared to more premium brand tomato knives.
The quibbles when it comes to the Rada by no means make it a bad knife. The amazing value for money and the fact it is so sharp and performs very well, make it an essential purchase for those that want a good tomato knife but do not want to spend very much to have it.
Purists may need to stay away, but for everyone else, this is an excellent purchase you will not be disappointed with.
2. TOP PICK: Victorinox Tomato Serrated Fork-Tipped Knife
At just a few dollars more than the Rada, the Victorinox tomato knife actually gets our top pick, tomato knife recommendation for 2018.
Let’s take a look why…
Firstly, the knife is super sharp as you would expect from a tool designed and built in Switzerland.
The thin blade has enough flex to be a delight to use, and cuts through tomatoes as if it were a slab of warm butter.
The serrations hold their sharp edge just as well as any premium priced tomato knife built using higher quality stainless steel. Whether you are using a sawing motion, cutting or slicing through your chosen vegetable, the knife will perform extremely well every time.
What we love about the Victorinox tomato knife
- Quality swiss manufacturing
- Razor sharp blade edge and serrated teeth that can hold an edge up there with the best of them
- The fork tip is a nice touch for carving out a conical stem plug.
- Balances affordability with quality more than any other knife in our list
The not so good points
- The plastic handle, although provides good grip does look and feel a bit cheap
- The overall weight of the knife is low, which some users have complained about as it feels flimsy in the hand.
The best tomato knife you can buy in 2018. What more can we say. The Victorinox tomato knife balances price and quality to make it an essential purchase for anyone looking to buy a stand alone tool for the job.
3. Wusthof 4109-7 Classic 5-Inch Tomato Knife
With the Wusthof classic tomato knife we are moving into premium quality craftsmanship, (with the higher price point attached).
So what is one getting for the money?
As you would expect, the Wusthof is incredible sharp out of the box. This extends to the forked tip too, that should come with a warning – one slip using this bad boy and you can perforate your skin.
As a top grade tomato knife this is very difficult to fault. The triple riveted handle looks and feels the part, it is a build quality that you can expect to last you for years.
It also adds to the overall weight of the knife, making it feel better in the hand than the other tomato knives in our list.
The high-carbon stainless steel blade is forged in Germany of course, and is hand-honed to enhance its sharpness. Edge retention is excellent, (although a few passes on using a sharpening steel is enough to keep the blade in tip top condition.)
What we love about the Whustof Classic tomato knife
- Superior quality knife made from German forged steel. Extremely sharp with excellent edge retention
- Strong build, the added weight make this more of a pleasure to use than cheaper alternatives
- The forked tip is also sharp and is perfect for coring and other such tasks
The not so good points
- The higher quality materials used, along with the greater attention to detail in the manufacturing process come at a cost – the price point is naturally more expensive.
The Wusthof is the best quality tomato knife in our review roundup, making it an essential purchase for kitchen professionals and any one else wanting a superior knife for cutting tomatoes.
4. Ginsu 05115 Essential Series Tomato Knife
The Ginsu Essential Series Tomato knife is a really nice tool. With a list price slightly over the Vitorinox and Rada knives (not by much however), it is definitely worth considering if some of the cons of those extremely budget options are enough to be deal breakers.
First off, it is sharp. The blade is made from commercial quality rust resistant 420J2 Japanese stainless steel, that as long as you endure to hand wash, requires little to no maintenance at all.
The serrated edge performs very well indeed, and is actually manufactured using Ginsu’s patented symmetric edge technology. In laymen’s terms, they have built the knife with identical serrations on either side of the blade. This provides a more even cut and allows for even greater sharpness.
The handle is also of better quality when compared to the budget options we have reviewed. Made from heat and water resistant resins, the ploymor build is nicely shaped and feels good in the hand.
What we love about the Ginsu Essential Series Tomato Knife
- Good quality Japanese forged steel, with patented edge technology and high performing sharpness. No issues with the blade at all.
- Nice handle and overall build quality ensure this is a very good option tomato knife
The not so good points
- While we have complained that the Rada and Victorinox tomato knives are a bit lightweight, the Ginsu actually veers towards the other end of the spectrum, and feels quite bulky for a tomato knife
Overall an excellent tool. Quality Japanese knife manufacturing at a good price.
5. J.A Henckels International 5-Inch Fine Edge Pro Serrated Utility
The J.A Henckels is another top budget buy serrated tomato knife that provides excellent value for money. With a list price of just $10 this comes very close in performance (and cost) to the Rada and the Victorinox.
And while the Victorinox tomato knife has got our top pick, if you end buying this instead, you will not be disappointed.
The steel used is strong and very sharp from the factory. The serrated blade has good edge retention considering the money you are spending, and the entire knife feels sturdy and well balanced. (The 3 rivet handle has a lot to do with that).
The knife is dishwasher safe and comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
Overall, a wonderful tomato knife for the money. There’s not very much to differentiate our top budget buy tomato slicing knives, so if opt for the J.A Henckels, you will have an excellent tool for the job.
What is a Tomato? Is it A Fruit Or A Vegetable
This is a question that I have asked myself before and I am sure will have too. Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable?
Well to answer that we have to first determine the definition of fruit and also vegetables. And as we will see, the answer when referring to a tomato, is still slightly ambigious depending on whom you ask.
What is a fruit?
- Scientists define fruits as the parts of a plant that bear seeds.
- Cooks state that fruits are the edible parts of a plant with a sweet
What is a vegetable?
- Scientists do not have a specific definition for vegetables
- Cooks state that vegetables are the edible parts of plants with a savory flavour.
So what is a tomato?
From the perspective of a scientist, the tomato is a fruit. They are part of the plant that bears seeds.
On the other hand, if you listen to the cooks – tomatoes are vegetables as they are the edible part of the plant and have a savoury flavour.
The legal view
Believe it or not, but the subject of what a tomato is actually made it to the United States Supreme Court.
In the 1893 case of Nix v. Hedden, the U.S. Supreme Court the subject of whether a tomato is a vegetable or a fruit was considered. The court ruled that, for purposes of the Tariff Act of March 3, 1883, tomatoes are vegetables.
The basis of their decision was due to the fact tomatoes are usually used as vegetables since they’re normally served with dinner and not dessert.
It is important to remember however, that the ruling only applied to tax law. This was not an attempt to reclassify tomatoes scientifically.
So what is it then!?
So to answer our original question – tomatoes are fruits according to scientists. However, you are still correct if you state that they are vegetables. Most cooks, and most people for that matter, have that view.