Alex Guarnaschelli's Secret Tip For Cutting Ripe Tomatoes

Tomatoes are cherished, celebrated foods that appear in varying dishes from practically every culture — and even sometimes in desserts. No matter if you're working with cherry or grape tomatoes, Roma, heirlooms, or sun-warmed, fresh-picked garden tomatoes, they're always a joy to eat. When it comes to prepping them, though ... that can be a challenge. If you're not working with an especially sharp, deft knife, or if your knife skills aren't especially adept, cutting a tomato can be an awkward, messy, or even dangerous affair.

If you're just using any old knife, the tomato's unique (or sometimes maddeningly frustrating) structure might immediately squish or flatten, which will then cause the juices to explode out, and it'll be a culinary catastrophe overall. There are even specialty knives on the market specifically for tomatoes, but you really don't need those — use a serrated knife, bread knife, or the single sharpest knife in your kitchen to work with tomatoes and ensure a simple, clean process and well-cut, non-jagged slices (via Bon Appétit). If you're chopping, cubing, or dicing the tomato, though, then you may be able to get away with not using an especially sharp knife, but slicing definitely calls for it.

Still struggling with your tomato prep? Alex Guarnaschelli has some other ideas.

How should I cut tomatoes?

As noted in this video posted on her Instagram, Alex Guarnaschelli advocates for cutting tomatoes horizontally (or "on their side"). This results in a more flavorful, robust end product since the tomato is now more able to soak up differing flavors, seasonings, or spices. Furthermore, Guarnaschelli mentions "tomato petals," which are a great way to work with tomatoes. Quarter them, scoop out their innards, and then use the slightly curved "skins" in a slew of usages: for garnish, as oven-dried treats, or to turn the mashed pulp and seeds into a vinaigrette.

Removing the core is important when working with large tomatoes. Also, when it comes to prepping cherry or grape tomatoes, a sharp knife is still needed, but you'll rarely need to do more than halve or quarter them, so that task isn't nearly as challenging as working through cutting a large tomato with a dull knife. It's also easiest to cut the tomato in half to begin the process and then slice, dice, or cube from there.

Good luck with your tomato journey! And don't forget to sharpen your knives.