Cherries are delicious treats that are usually gobbled up right off the stem. However, to incorporate these sweet and tart fruits into a recipe, you’ve got to pit them, and here we’ll explain to you how to pit cherries easily.
While there’s a handy gadget called “cherry pitter” you can use for that, you can easily learn how to be resourceful and use simple items you can find in your kitchen to get rid of those pits.
To pit cherries, you have to wash them, remove the stem, and then use a knife, straw, chopstick, skewer, pastry tip, or even your own fingers to push the pit out of the fruit.
Read on to learn five different methods to pit cherries without a cherry pitter.
Prepare Your Cherries
Wash the cherries thoroughly under cool running water to remove any dirt and debris from the surface. Then, Pat them down gently with a kitchen towel to remove excess moisture and let them air dry for a couple of minutes.
Next, separate the stems from the fruit. The indented spot left behind is where you’re going to poke through to remove the pit.
The easiest way to get rid of pits quickly and mess-free is by using a cherry pitter. This is a small kitchen gadget that has a removable tray inside where you can place one o several cherries at a time, depending on the model.
The classic cherry pitter holds only one cherry, and once you press down, a small rod with sharp cutters pierces the fruit and pushes the pit out and into a holding space just below the tray. While using a cherry pitter ensures that your cherries are left intact, it can be quite a tedious task if you have a large amount of these small fruits.
However, you have the option of investing in a cherry pitter that can take care of six cherries at once! This handy device can make quick work of a pound of fresh cherries and have them ready for any desserts you want to make.
The truth is you don’t really need any fancy gadgets because there are many ways you can pit cherries with objects you can find in your kitchen. Here you’re going to find some of them.
This method works best for recipes that call for halved cherries. You’re only going to need a cutting board and a sharp knife, such as a paring knife.
Start by using the side of the knife to press the cherry down gently against the cutting board until you feel it give way slightly. This will help loosen the pit, but make sure you don’t apply too much pressure and crush the fruit.
Then, cut into the flesh from top to bottom along one side of the cherry as you would a peach. Now all you have to do is twist the two sides apart and pick out the seed with your fingers. Easy-peasy!
Your standard plastic straw will certainly struggle with the cherry’s firm flesh, so it’s best to leave the job to a sturdy, reusable straw that’s made of either metal or hard plastic.
And just like you’d hull a strawberry, push the straw up from the bottom and out through the top.
With this method, you don’t have to remove the stems in a previous step, as the straw can take care of both the stem and the pit in a single go.
How to Pit Cherries with a Chopstick or Skewer
This is definitely our favorite method for pitting cherries. You’re going to need a sturdy, narrow-mouthed bottle to catch the seeds as you remove them. We typically use a glass soda or wine bottle, but you can use a plastic soda bottle as well, as long as it can hold the cherry without dropping it to the bottom.
You also need to find a chopstick or a skewer, although you’ll have to be careful with the sharp end of the latter. From our experience, pointed chopsticks are trickier to use because they tend to slide off the cherry pit. If you can, go for those that have a flat bottom because they’re easier to push against the pit.
Now, place the cherry on top of the bottle’s opening with the stem-end facing up. Pierce the fruit with the smaller end of the chopstick or skewer gently, but firmly. Keep pressing straight down until the pit comes out from the other side.
What we like about this technique is that it allows us to pit large batches of cherries mess-free because the bottle catches not only the seeds but all the juices as well.
Cake decorators and baking lovers will surely have a metal pastry or pipping tips that can be used to pit cherries. Thinner tips work best since thicker ones tend to end up taking a fair amount of fruit along with the pit. Tips that are about ¼-inch in diameter at the point are perfect for this task.
There are two ways you can use the tip to pit cherries. For the first one, you have to hold the fruit firmly and push the point of the pit through just like you would a straw or chopstick until the pit pops out.
The other option is to place the larger end of the tip flat on top of the cutting board and push the indented side of the cherry (where you’ve removed the stem) down onto the narrow end of the tip. Bear in mind, though, that this technique releases a bit more juice than the other one.
If you’re unconcerned about the aesthetic of the cherries because you’re going to blend them, for example, tearing them apart with your bare hands is the simplest way to pit them. Keep in mind, though, that his method is also the messiest of them all.
After removing the stem, simply grab the fruit with both hands and rip it in two. Now you can easily remove the pit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cherry pits contain a small amount of cyanide, a potentially deadly chemical. When the pit is crushed or chewed, this chemical is released.
If you accidentally swallowed a few whole pits, don’t panic because you won’t get poisoned as the pit stays intact during digestion. However, when you consume large amounts of cherry pits, you should look out for reactions like headaches, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, or seizures.
It is better to be safe than sorry, so take the time to remove the cherry pits, even if it’s a bit tedious to do.
Wash the cherry, remove the stem, and place the fruit on top of a narrow-mouthed bottle with the indented side facing up. Push a chopstick straight down the middle until the pit pops out the other end and into the bottle. The bottle + chopstick method is definitely our favorite! It’s mess-free and the easiest and quickest way of removing cherry pits without using a cherry pitter.
Pitted cherries can last about 4 to 10 days when stored in an airtight container in your fridge, depending on how ripe they are in the first place. For long-term storage, you might want to consider freezing cherries for up to a year!
Pitting cherries doesn’t have to be a tedious and messy task. Depending on the number of fruits you have and where you are going to use them, you can choose from five techniques that don’t require any fancy gadgets to easily remove those pits.
Small batches or large ones, now you can easily take care of the necessary step of pitting cherries before including them in your favorite recipes!