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How to Pit Cherries

How to Pit Cherries with Household Tools

pitting cherries with chopstick

Eating cherries and spitting out the pits is one way to remove the pits but when we are making pie or fruit salad we need to get those pits out of the way in a cleaner, more organized way.

There are machines, some semi-automated like the one below, which attaches with a clamp

semi-automatic cherry pitter

and some are a small hand tool, like the one below in the following 2 images.

cherry pitter 1

cherry pitter 2

But what if you don’t have any kitchen gadgets? Never fear, you can still get those pits out! For all of these techniques, begin with fresh cherries, sour or sweet, with stems removed. For the techniques that involve inserting something (straw, chopstick, etc.) insert through the stem end.

  • Straw – the key here is you need a sturdy plastic straw in the standard width. If you have a hard plastic commuter beverage cup that came with one of those extra-sturdy plastic straws, those are even better. Insert through the stem end of the cherry, press, and the straw will push the pit out the other side.
  • Chopstick – this works the same as the straw above and the trick to this one is to use a chopstick with a broad base, not a pointy end. The typical wooden disposable ones work well. See the top image for this approach.
  • Chef’s Knife – gently smash the side of the berry under the broad side of the knife until the fruit splits open. Pick out the pit with knife tip or fingertip and repeat.
  • Pastry Tip – place a plain round pastry tip on your work surface, tip side up. We like to use a Wilton #12. Press the cherry stem end down on top of the tip and the cherry should slide down while the tip brings the pit up out of the top.
  • Paper Clip or Hairpin – open one end of a paper clip so that you have a “U” bend accessible. The hairpin already has this shape. Insert this “loop” into the cherry, pressing in past the pit, then maneuver it over the pit and pull back through the insertion hole. The “U” should grab the pit.

In general, for any of the tips above except the chef’s knife, try performing the technique either over a bowl to catch the fruit or on a paper towel lined work surface to sop up any juice so as not to stain your cutting board.

Images: Dédé Wilson

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