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I like to make pico de gallo which calls for a lot of diced tomato. This is always the most time-consuming part of this recipe.

What are some tips to make dicing a tomato a little easier? I finally got a very sharp knife which has made things quite a bit easier, but I imagine there is some sort of correct technique.

Using romas I usually will slice the ends off and then cut them into rings. Then I'll take about 1/3 of those stacked up and cut them into cubes. 

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3 Answers

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Cut the tomato in half at the midsection or equator (stem end being the "north pole") to expose the seed cavities. Holding the cut side down over your garbage bowl or trash can, gently squeeze to remove the seeds. You can easily pry out stubborn seeds with your fingertips.

Place the tomato half cut-side up on the cutting board (Cutting waxy skinned vegetables is much easier when the skin is on the bottom so the force of the knive cuts cleanly through the skin with less effot) and cut in half again. After doing this with both pieces the tomato will be in quarters.

If you want evenly diced pieces of just the exterior flesh (such as for sprinkling on a plate for a garnish), then use your knife to cut out the interior portion so that just the tomato "shell" remains. You can then easily dice the exterior shell.

Otherwise, after cutting into quarters just gently push down to flatten each quarter and cut into strips lengthwise and then cut cross-wise to finish the process.

While cumbersome to explain in text, it's much safer and quicker than cutting the tomato into slices and then trying to dice from there.

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Keep the pulpy stuff with the seeds. It has a wonderful umami flavor. Save in a small container in the fridge. Once you have enough pass it through a sieve and add it over cooked rice or to salad dressings. –  papin Jul 25 '10 at 22:57
    
@Darin Sehnert : Wow. I could literally see the tomato at each stage in your instruction. Thank you for the vivid explanation! –  ajax81 Dec 29 '13 at 8:38
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What is it with tomatoes and their seeds? As Papin says, the "pulp" which is inside a tomato adds "umami" taste to dishes, or at least a good taste.

Why would anyone using tomatoes wish to remove the best tasting parts of the veg?

I find the peel and de-seed tomatoes to be time-consuming and wasteful of the good parts of the tomato and my time, which I don't have that much of.

I slice tomatoes however thin one way, then across the disks the first cut produces that same thickness, and then across the sticks the second cut produces, using a big cutting board and a big sharp knife. You get little cubes of the firmer parts and assorted seeds and pulp along with. I drain some moisture if the dish won't benefit from it, which is rare.

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+1 for not wasting good stuff! –  Izzydorio Feb 7 '11 at 12:12
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Cut enough off the top to expose the seeds. Cut enough off the botton to expose the seeds. Now you have a barrel shaped bit of tomato.

Place, the tomato on it's side, so that one of the flat sides is facing you. Now cut half way through the tomato such that the thickness of the slice is about the thickness of the tomato wall. Rather than cutting all the way through, start turning your knife so that you cut out the core of the tomato.

You now have a large rectangle piece of tomato and dicing is easy.

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