If you’ve ever come across a recipe that wants you to dice a tomato, you may have immediately thought about a messy situation.
Seeds and juice oozing from the tomato to leave your kitchen top, and surrounding areas, in a red mess.
Although many of us have experienced an explosive tomato when cutting into one, there is an easier, and tidier, way to dice a tomato.
Diced tomatoes are a staple of many summer salads and sides. Their refreshing and delicate taste can rejuvenate a dish. However, the mere thought of dicing a tomato puts many people off doing it.
But what if we told you there was no wrong way to dice a tomato? If the tomato ends up cut into small, equally sized cubes, you have a diced tomato.
But, yes, there are certain tricks and tips to follow to make the dicing process easier and less messy.
Today, we are going to show you how to dice a tomato properly. With a pinch of understanding what a tomato’s anatomy is like and a dash of practice, you will soon be dicing tomatoes with ease. No more tomato jelly spills!
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When you’re preparing to dice a tomato, it can be useful to know what makes up these juicy fruits. That’s right, a tomato is botanically defined as a fruit because it contains a multitude of seeds and grows from small yellow flowers.
Scientifically speaking, a fruit is something that has a single seed (or more) inside and grows from a flower or a plant.
Another fruit that tomatoes are similar to is an apple. While their texture and taste are completely different, both have a fleshy core that runs from their stems to their bottoms.
When dicing a tomato, try and think of it like an apple. To dice a tomato like you dice an apple, you can start cutting around the core.
As you may have found out, to your clean kitchen counter’s cost, cutting straight through a tomato in a vertical manner would just puncture the jelly pulp inside as well as the seed cavities.
This can then shoot here, there, and everywhere, leaving splashes of jelly all over the kitchen.
Once you follow the proper procedure of dicing a tomato, you will wonder how you ever managed without this knowledge before!
Dicing a tomato
Before you start dicing your tomato, make sure you remove all produce stickers first and wash thoroughly under a cold water faucet.
Once rinsed, pat the tomato dry.
After it is cleaned, you’re ready to start dicing.
- A sharp knife (ideally, a serrated model)
- A cutting board
- 1 large or medium ripe tomato
1. Slice the tomato – To cut your tomato, you should use a serrated kitchen knife (a jagged edge like a saw) or a straight-edged model that is very sharp. Set the tomato on its side. Remove any green stems and leaves with your knife. Starting at the stem, cut evenly spaced slices until you reach the bottom.
The slices must be the same width. If you want very small-dice sizes, cut the slices closer together. You can also cut the core out if desired.
To do this, place the tomato top-side up and cut off its sides. You will be left with the core. Set this flat-side down on your cutting board and remove the two remaining sides surrounding the core. Then, discard the core.
2. Cut each slice into strips – The slices here should be the same width as in step 1. Now, arrange the slices so that they are next to each other or stacked up on top of one another. Cut these slices into evenly spaced strips of tomato.
3. Dice the strips into small cube shapes – Lastly, you need to cut across the strips evenly. Cut these slices lengthwise into ¼-inch wide strips. Then cut these strips crosswise to create ¼-inch dices. The pieces should come away in the form of small cubes.
And that’s how you dice a tomato! Congratulations!
How to dice an oblong tomato
Not all tomatoes are the same shape. Some, like Roma tomatoes, are oblong in shape. These do not require any core removal but the method is similar.
1. Remove the stems or green leaves by cutting off the top of the tomato.
2. Cut the tomato in half. This should be done lengthwise.
3. Set both halves of the tomato cut-side down. This will provide added stability as you cut. Slice down the tomato with evenly spaced, vertical cuts. Depending on how large or small you want your dices to be, cut thick or thin strips.
4. Lastly, rotate the tomato slices 90 degrees. Now, slice it in the opposite direction. This will create a dice.
Now you have a diced oblong tomato ready for your summer salad.
The best dishes for sliced tomatoes
Once you have your sliced tomatoes, you should experiment with different dishes. These refreshing fruits are ideal for a wide range of dishes from soups to salsas and salads to appetizers. Just about any meal can benefit from a healthy dose of this fresh flavor.
Some delicious recipes that are made even tastier with the addition of sliced tomatoes include:
- Mexican chicken tinga
- Stuffed pepper soup
- Sweet and spicy salsa
- Fresh guacamole
- Feta Bruschetta chicken
- Ground turkey chili
Of course, there are many more dishes that work wonderfully with diced tomatoes but these are just a few of our favorites.
Diced tomatoes are not only tasty, they add a certain freshness and health boost to your meal. Tomatoes are a superb source of vitamins. Just a single tomato can supply approximately 40% of your daily recommended intake of vitamin C.
These powerful fruits also provide vitamin A for supporting your immune system, vision, and skin health, vitamin K to support bone health, and potassium, a vital nutrient for heart function and for maintaining healthy blood pressure.
So, get dicing and reap the benefits of the humble yet ultra-healthy tomato.