Why Beefsteak Tomatoes Are The Best Variety For Slicing And Dicing

beefsteak tomatoes on cutting board
beefsteak tomatoes on cutting board - Bhofack2/Getty Images

The tomato is a native Mexican crop that has become a central ingredient in global cuisines, from Italian sauces to African stews. As its popularity grows, so does the number of tomato varieties available at your local supermarket. Tomato varieties range from small, sweet cherry tomatoes to multi-colored heirlooms, each with a distinct texture and flavor suitable for specific cooked or raw applications. Beefsteak tomatoes, for example, are the best variety for slicing and dicing.

One of the largest and oldest tomato varieties, beefsteak tomatoes got their name as a reference to their meaty, juicy texture and sizable midsection. They have a much larger ratio of flesh to seeds than other types, and their flesh is notably firm, making them easier to slice. While it may be easy to slice into the snappy peel of a grape or cherry tomato, their innards are nearly all gel and seeds. Larger varieties like Roma and cocktail tomatoes have grainier, softer flesh, making for a messier, mushier slice.

Beefsteaks will maintain their form no matter how large or small you slice them. Plus, their large size also makes them easier to handle, giving you more surface area to work with and producing a larger content of slices, diced pieces, or julienned strips. Red beefsteak tomatoes are easy to find at your local grocery store. They're also the most popular home-grown variety in the U.S., so you can always grow your own tomatoes for the freshest and highest quality specimens.

Read more: 13 Simple Tricks To Pick The Best Fresh Fruit Every Time

Tips For Cutting Beefsteaks

knife slicing tomatoes on board
knife slicing tomatoes on board - Brazzo/Getty Images

Beefsteak tomatoes come in red and green varieties, and while both have the same meaty, firm texture that's optimal for slicing, they have distinct flavors. Red beefsteak tomatoes are sweet and mild, while green beefsteak tomatoes are tart and almost crunchy. Whichever variety you choose to slice, there are a few fundamental guidelines for easy execution. The first is using the right kind of knife. For a beefsteak tomato's large size, the best knife would be an eight-inch serrated knife.

A serrated edge is guaranteed to pierce through that taut, waxy layer of skin every time. That said, you should use a small, sharp paring knife to remove the tomato's core before you start slicing. The technique to core a tomato is to insert the tip of the knife at a 45-degree angle to the stem into its flesh. Then, rotate the tomato under the knife until you've created a full circular cut around the stem. You can then pull the stem and its connecting core right out.

While beefsteak tomatoes have far fewer seeds than many other varieties, you still need to be mindful of them when you slice tomatoes so they remain intact. Unless you're cutting tomatoes into wedges, it's best to cut horizontally instead of vertically, that is: against the grain of seed growth. Once you've cut the tomato into horizontal slices, you can then proceed to either dice, julienne, or use the slices to top your burgers or BLTs.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.