Learn how to pit cherries to use in all of your favorite baking, cooking, and snack recipes. No fancy kitchen gadgets are required! I’ll show you four simple methods to remove the seed using tools you already have.
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The cherry season arrives during the warm summer months. Keep an eye out between May and August. These sweet, tart, and always delicious drupes are typically gobbled up right off the stem. However, when you want to incorporate them into recipes like a pie, cake, or a fresh cherry vinaigrette for a summer salad, you’ve got to figure out the best way to remove those stubborn tiny pits.
You could buy a fancy gadget like a cherry pitter (affiliate), but I recommend being more resourceful with tools you probably already have in your kitchen drawers. I tested various methods, from using a metal paper clip to a plastic straw. However, those just don’t work as well as chopsticks, pastry tips, or a paring knife. Pick your favorite, and you’ll have a bowl of pitted cherries in no time!
How to pit cherries without a pitter
- A narrow pastry tip is sturdy enough to push through the fleshy fruit.
- The tip of a chopstick is just the right size to push the pit out the other side.
- Use a narrow-mouthed bottle to set the fruit on top and catch the seeds while using the chopstick method.
- A paring knife is a quick way to halve the fruit, then pick out the seed with fingertips.
Make sure to wash the cherries in a colander with cool running water. This process helps to remove any dirt and debris from the surface.
Remove the stem
If the stems are still intact, take a few minutes to separate them from the fruit. The indented spot where you remove the branch where you poke through to remove the pit.
Method 1) Pastry tip
If you’re a baking lover, you probably have pastry tips for doing the job. I use metal tips about ¼-inch in diameter at the point, as they’re sturdy enough to push the pits out. Firmly hold the cherry and push the point of the tip through until the seed pops out the other side.
You can also place the larger end of the tip sitting flush on a cutting board, then press the indented side straight down into the narrow end of the tip. I find that it releases a little more juice, so I use the first technique.
Method 2) Chopstick
Chopsticks aren’t just good for devouring yummy beef with broccoli. You can also use them to quickly and easily remove cherry pits! I use the Chinese style that has a broader tip compared to the pointy and tapered Japanese ones. Even the wooden ones you get from restaurants work well.
If you don’t have chopsticks, try a wooden dowel, thick skewer, or metal straw. Start by holding the cherry at a 90-degree angle. Push the end of the chopstick from the top of the cherry and through the center until the pit emerges from the bottom.
Method 3) Bottle + chopstick
Find a sturdy, empty container with a narrow enough opening that the cherry can sit on top of it. I prefer using a heavy glass soda or wine bottle. An aluminum can works too, but it’s the least optimal option.
Place the fruit sitting on top of the opening with the stem-end facing up. Use a chopstick to gently press straight down until the pit comes out from the other side. This is my favorite method because you can quickly pit a large batch, and the bottle catches the juices and seeds for easy clean-up.
Method 4) Paring knife
When a recipe calls for halving the cherries, use a knife to do the job efficiently. Simply use a small and sharp paring knife to cut into the flesh and around the pit, just like cutting a peach. Twist the two sides apart, then pick out the seed.
Ways to use cherries
- Make a fresh sweet cherry pie
- Topping for pineapple upside-down cake
- Cherry dressing for salads
- Cherry parfait for a snack
Options include using a chopstick, pastry tip, metal straw, wire paper clip, or skewer. As long as the tool is sturdy and about ¼-inch thick in diameter, it will push the pits out.
Remove the stem then place the cherry on top of a bottle with the indented side facing up. Hold the fruit, then push a chopstick straight down until the pit comes out from the other end. This is the least messy and fastest method, besides using a cherry pitter.
About 5 to 7 days stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. To freeze, place in a single layer in a resealable bag for up to 6 months.
What happens if you eat a cherry pit?
If you accidentally swallow a whole cherry pit, there is less chance for symptoms of toxicity since it stays intact during digestion. However, chewing the pit releases amygdalin, which produces hydrogen cyanide in the body. If large amounts are consumed, look out for reactions like headaches, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing, or seizures [Source].
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How to Pit Cherries
- 1 pound fresh cherries, stems removed
Method 1 – Pastry tip
- Use a metal pastry tip about ¼-inch in diameter at the point. Hold the cherry with the stem side facing up at a 90-degree angle. Carefully push the tip through the top of the fruit, until the pit emerges from the bottom.
Method 2 – Chopstick
- Use a chopstick, dowel, or skewer that is about ¼-inch wide in diameter. A metal straw can be used as well. Hold the cherry with the stem side facing up at a 90-degree angle. Carefully push the stick through the top of the fruit, until the pit emerges from the bottom.
Method 3 – Bottle + chopstick
- Use a heavy soda or wine bottle with an opening that is narrow enough to place the cherry on top without falling in. Place the cherry on the opening, stem-side up. Hold the cherry and lip of the bottle, carefully pushing the chopstick, dowel, skewer, or metal straw straight down, until the pit emerges from the bottom and falls into the bottle.
Method – 4Paring knife
- Place the cherry on a cutting board. Starting on the stem-side, use a paring knife to cut around the entire fruit lengthwise, making sure to hit the pit. Twist the halves apart, then use fingers to remove the pit.
- Serving Size: About 1/2 cup pitted cherries (77g)
- Storing: Refrigerate pitted cherries in an airtight container for up to 5 to 7 days. Freeze in a resealable bag in a single layer for up to 6 months.
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