Nothing beats using fresh cherries while they’re in-season and plentiful but pitting them can be a challenge. To help you learn how to pit cherries like a pro, we’ve put together five different methods to pit cherries without a pitter.
1. The chopstick method
Remove the stem from a cherry and hold the fruit between two fingers. Grab a hold of a chopstick and position the smaller end into the stem hole. Gently but firmly press the chopstick down into the pit and push it out of the cherry. If you’re having a hard time steadying the cherry, place it on the mouth of an empty small glass bottle (i.e. glass cola or beer bottle) and push the pits out into the bottle. The whole pitted cherries are now perfect to make our no-bake black forest cake.
2. The surgical method
This method yields perfect-looking whole cherries (just right for our pickled cherries recipe) and works well even if the cherries are compact (i.e. tight around the pit) or not very ripe. Remove the stem from a cherry and place the fruit on a cutting board. Using the side of a paring knife, press down gently but firmly until you feel the cherry give way slightly. This helps loosen the pit. Do not press too hard or crush the cherry. Make an incision from top to bottom along one side of the cherry. Gently pull on either side of the cut to expose the pit and use your fingers to remove it.
3. The tearing method
This is the simplest method but should only be used when aren’t concerned about the esthetic of the pitted cherries (ex. if you’re going to blend them for our simple chilled cherry soup). It works best with very ripe fruit. Remove the stem from the cherry and grab the fruit with both hands. Rip it in two and remove the pit.
4. The peach pit method
Use this method if you need nice looking cherry halves. Stem the cherry, then run a paring knife around the pit until you have made a cut all the way around. Turn the two cherry sides in opposite directions (one clockwise and the other counter-clockwise). Remove the pit with your fingers. These perfect halves will look great on our cherry cornmeal pancakes.
5. The paper clip method
Unfold a paper clip into an “s” shape. Insert it into a stemmed cherry and twist it around the pit until it dislodges and can be pulled out with the paper clip. After all that pitting, be sure to reward yourself with one of our cherry cheesecake brownies.