If you’ve never laid eyes on a tomato knife before, you may find its appearance kind of strange. At first, it may come off as quite normal (like many people you may know), yet then you notice it has points. What is the purpose of the two sharp forks at the end of the blade?
A tomato knife is forked for easy coring of the fruit and to allow chefs to pick up slices of tomato without pulverizing the flesh. It also has a serrated edge to allow for easy slicing through a tomato’s deceptively thick skin.
To find out more about these rather unusual knives, I encourage you to read on. I’ll explain all the reasons why a tomato knife is forked, whether or not you really need one, and how tomatoes can actually damage your knife.
Why Is a Tomato Knife Forked?
The tomato is a pretty thick-skinned fruit. Using the wrong kind of knife, slicing can quickly become a rather disastrous hatchet job to rival those of Vorhees on Friday the 13th.
A tomato knife is forked to provide tools for both preparing and serving tomatoes. Along with a tightly serrated blade, the fork pierces the fruit almost effortlessly. Owing to this, the juice is less likely to spatter and seeds less likely to fly. Tomatoes can also be cored using one of the prongs.
To core tomatoes with a tomato knife, simply make a circle around the tomato stem and lift it out. Once you slice the tomato with the serrated edge, you can use the fork again to lift each slice off the cutting board without damaging the fruit and thus wasting its delicious flavor all over your kitchen counter.
A tomato knife can even be fun to use, so easily does it perform its duty. You’ll be feeling like a professional chef, even if it’s your first day on the job.
For a more visual idea of how tomato knives work, have a quick look at the video below:
Using a Tomato Knife
Use a tomato knife like nearly any other kitchen knife. The keys lie in how easily it cuts through all that tough skin, and the convenience of the lifting fork.
Mind you, not all tomato knives come with a fork. But if you happen to find yourself in the market for one, go with the fork. Tomato knives are designed to cut clean and sharp. Keep in mind, I speak not just about the tomato, but the presentation of the tomato as well as the preservation of its flavor. Think about Gordon Ramsey here. How would he feel about seeing a salad that looks like a police crime scene?
I can almost hear him now: “Who put this on a plate?”
Nor can I blame the guy for being mad. Once your tomato is beautifully sliced, do you really want to take a chance damaging those slices as they travel from cutting board to dinner table? Oh no, no.
Why Does a Tomato Knife Have Two Points?
The tomato knife has two points because each point suits a different purpose. The first point serves as a coring blade for the tomato. It’s specially designed to make this task swift and clean. The second point is to transfer tomato slices from the cutting board.
This fact may seem a bit surprising for chefs unfamiliar with these knives. But really, the tomato knife is remarkably handy to have around. I’ve been using mine for close to a year, and I love it.
You’ll be able to core the fruit without damaging it or making it appear hacked. With surprisingly little effort on your part, the core will come out smooth and round.
It can be quite convenient for those chefs who would rather not spend inordinate amounts of time reaching around for different cutlery. With the tomato knife, a moving blade is already right there in your hand.
Do You Really Need a Tomato Knife?
I know, I know. You still think coring and slicing a tomato is going to be easy. Later on, you’re going to go to the kitchen, grab a butter knife, and hack some poor, defenseless tomato to pieces, just to prove a point. The trouble is, you don’t have a point, and you need many of them to slice a tomato.
You really do need a tomato knife even if only for crisp, clean cutting of the fruit. Forked ends are a huge benefit to help any chef make meals look great and taste delicious. If you like to cook and haven’t yet used a tomato knife, do yourself a favor and pick one up.
There’s an old axiom that goes: If a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. It’s been around for centuries and most certainly applies in food preparation.
Having some experience with tomato knives myself, I can attest that they do their job well.
How Tomatoes Can Actually Damage Your Tomato Knife
Wait, I can almost hear you thinking, it’s a tomato knife. If its purpose is to core and slice tomatoes, how can it become damaged?
Like any other knife, tomato knives are prone to dull over time. This goes almost double when you use the knife to cut citrus or tomatoes.
Tomato juice is quite acidic. Indeed, you may already know that the pH scale goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Any number lower than 7 can be considered as acidic. Tomato juice falls in at around 4.5. As such, it’ll reduce the cutting power of tomato knife blades and forks over time.
But don’t worry—this doesn’t mean you need to keep throwing away your cutlery to buy more. Just make sure to wash them after every use. For instance, the professionals over at Frosted Blades recommend tomato knives be sharpened every eight weeks. Sticking to this care procedure, there’s no reason to believe your forked tomato knife won’t last for years.
A good, quality tomato knife has two prongs—one for coring and the other for transfer. And whether you cook professionally or just like to dabble, they are a worthy addition to the kitchen. The cutting comes off smooth and sharp without sacrificing the juicy flavor of the tomato.
If you don’t yet own a forked tomato knife, get one. Once you find out how well they work, you’ll wonder how you ever got by without one.