Introduction: Chop Tomatoes Like a Ninja

About: I'm a chap, and I'm the Dad of a chap.
Learn how to chop tomatoes like a ninja*.

You will need:
  • tomatoes
  • knife
  • chopping board
  • to take basic safety precautions.  Knives are sharp and can cut you, particularly if you're pretending to be a ninja.  Mind your fingers, and remember:  it's much safer to use a sharp knife than a blunt one.  The sharp knife will go where you expect it to go 

* No ninjas were consulted during the making of this Instructable

Step 1: The Brief

Tomatoes are big, red, juicy and delicious.  Except the stalk, and the woody bit where the stalk goes into the tomato.  

If you're slicing tomatoes for a sandwich, this is fine, as you slice most of it off when you slice the top off, but if you want to chop lots of tomatoes quickly for a pasta sauce, or a salsa or as a souring agent in curries, then you need to do something about this woody bit. You don't want to eat that.  It's not very tasty. 

This Instructable will show you a neat way of removing the woody stalky bit.  The best thing about this method is that it takes no extra time or effort at all, just a bit of skill.

Step 2: How to Do It

  1. Chop the tomato in half from top to bottom (Picture 1)
  2. Lay one half down flat on the chopping board, with the woody bit pointing away from you
  3. Line up your knife as if you're going to cut the half into three pieces, like segments of an orange (Picture 2)
  4. The clever bit:  Move your cutting hand outwards just a little bit and turn the knife anticlockwise just a little bit
  5. Cut the tomato like this, so that the blade goes a little bit past the woody stalk in the middle (Picture 3)
  6. Turn the whole thing round and line up your knife again (Picture 4)
  7. The other clever bit:  Move your cutting hand inwards just a little bit and turn the knife clockwise just a little bit
  8. Cut the tomato like this, so that the blade goes past the middle again, but on the other side
You should be left with three segments, minus one sliver of woody stalky bit from the middle (Picture 5).  In my pictures I cut a bit too much out of the first one, but the second half came out a bit better (Picture 6).  I still need practice.  

Repeat with the other half of the tomato.  You now have 6 tomato segments, with no woody stalky bit, and you only used 5 cuts.  Pretty neat, huh.

Step 3: And Finally...

I also did some cherry tomatoes.  They turned out pretty well.  See Picture 2.  No fancy gadgets or mucking about.  All you need is a bit of practice and you'll have a new skill.

This trick is also useful with lemons, as it removes all the stringy white stuff down the middle.  This leaves the segments wide open, allowing for easy removal of pips.  It also stops them bursting unpredictably when you squeeze them.  Bonus in excelsis.

So there you have it.  Not actually a actual ninja skill, but it saves time and effort in the kitchen, and impresses your friends and family.