Making salads has never been easier.
Credit: Photo: Jennifer Causey

I love a good caprese salad: the creamy mozzarella, the fresh basil, the juicy tomatoes. It’s the perfect summer meal for me, and I get to employ my favorite kitchen hack—the one where I halve all my cherry tomatoes in about 5 seconds flat. Here’s how I do it.

  1. Grab any two, same-size lids. They can be from pickle jars, quart-size yogurt containers, coffee cans, or really any lid with a bit of a lip.
  2. Set one lid on a surface, top-side down (with the lip facing up).
  3. Place enough cherry tomatoes in the lid to fill it completely; this is important because you don’t want wiggle room or space for the tomatoes to roll around.
  4. Top with the other lid, lip down, sandwiching the tomatoes in between. There should be a small gap where the two lids don’t touch each other.
  5. Press gently on the top lid with your non-dominant hand, and use a serrated knife to gently saw back and forth through the gap all the way to the other side. Voilà: halved tomatoes.

Depending on the various sizes of your tomatoes (and whether they were round or oblong), how much space was between the two lids, and the angle of your knife, they might not all be perfectly cut in half. But they will all be cut into two pieces of more or less equal size.

This hack also works great for grapes (in case you’ve got a hankering for Waldorf salad) and pitted olives (if Niçoise is what you’re after). It’s not bad on kumquats or kiwi berries either, but it’s less effective for firmer foods such as Brussels sprouts or radishes.

Now with all the time you’ve saved cutting your tomatoes, you can get to work chiffonading your basil for that caprese.