Pitting Cherries (Removing the Pits, and Nothing but the Pits)

20200607092103_IMG_4021Yes, I know.  There are cherry pitters designed for this task.  But if you lose half the cherry with the pit, that kind of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?

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I have two cherry pitters in my arsenal of gadgets.  One is a hand-held gizmo that does one cherry at a time, and the other is a spring-loaded one that can process dozens in rapid succession.  They both work fine, though the spring-loaded contraption is meant for larger cherries than what my little sour cherry tree produces.  However, they will both chop out a hefty chunk of each cherry if not used properly.

The top picture shows the stem end, the bottom shows the blossom scar.  It’s small, but you will find it!

After using both multiple times, I got more than a little frustrated at the sheer quantity of cherry flesh being lost.  I kind of wanted to eat that, you know.  So I started to do some experimenting to see if there was a way to remove the pit, and only the pit.  Eventually I figured out that I could use the two weakest spots on the cherry to my advantage.  Score!  Not only that, but I also realized that I could use other objects to pit the cherries, too.

Now, I will confess that pitting cherries in this way will be a little slower.  However, the payoff makes it worth it.  Try it yourself and you will see!  Not only that, but this is one of those processes that once you get used to it, you’ll find that you can go pretty quickly.

I was using the blunt end of a wooden skewer.  This is slower since you have to gently feel around for the pit, but still works if you can’t find a hand-held cherry pitter.

So, on to the process.  Those two weak spots I mentioned are the place where the stem was attached to the fruit, and on the opposite end where the flower blossom once was attached before the fruit formed.  On a cherry it will just be a small dot and indent, but on fruits like apples and pears, you can very easily see the blossom scar at the bottom of the fruit opposite the stem end.

Align your cherry pitter so that the plunger pushes on the blossom scar.  Set the stem end over the hole where the pit will be pushed through, and push!  Despite the fact that you will have created a tunnel through your cherry, only the pit will pushed out and the cherry fruit will otherwise be intact.  I’ve even used the blunt end of a wooden skewer for smaller cherries, like what my tree makes.  In this case, I will hold the cherry between my fingers in one hand and carefully push with the end of the skewer with the other hand.  It’s not as fast as with an actual hand-held pitter, but it still works.

Look, almost no flesh stuck to the pits and very little juice squeezed out!

The fact that you aren’t taking out huge plugs of cherry flesh with each pit means you will also be able to keep much of the juice in the cherry.  That also means more of the flavor and texture of the fruit will be kept intact.  Even after pitting hundreds of cherries, we will have only a few spoonfuls of juice in the pans we worked over.  It’s a huge difference from how much I will see gone if I just randomly pit the cherry from any other angle.

So, happy pitting, and happy eating!  You can check out recipes made with your perfectly pitted cherries with the help of the search bar on this page.  Enjoy!



12 thoughts on “Pitting Cherries (Removing the Pits, and Nothing but the Pits)

  1. How nice that you grow tart cherries! Sweet cherries were a main crop in Sunnyvale decades ago, but there were almost no tart cherries. We grew up with pies made with ‘Bing’ cherries because they were so abundant. They were good, but they were nothing like normal cherry pies.

    Liked by 1 person

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