Just look at all those beautiful red pie cherries! But those buckets of cherries are full of pits and the pie filling recipe I wanted to try this year called for 10 pounds of these little jewels. That translated to a lot of pitting, so I thought I’d share our opinions on the various pitting methods.
Method #1: Slice and Dig
It’s possible to slice each cherry in half and dig the pit out with your fingernail. I don’t have any pictures of this method because, well, I don’t recommend it.
This would probably work just fine if you only need a couple of cups of cherries, but it’s quite messy and time consuming if you need much more than that. Not to mention leaving lots of cherry gook under your fingernails.
Method #2: Bobby Pin
This works great if you don’t have a cherry pitter on hand, and it’s still my hubby’s favorite method. Start by holding a cherry between the fingers of one hand with the stem end facing out. Position the loop of the bobby pin at the stem opening.
Press down with the bobby pin, sweeping the pit out of the cherry as you pull the pin out.
Ta-da! The pit should come out smoothly and land somewhere nearby.
This method leaves a slightly bigger hole in the cherry than Method #3 but otherwise is very effective. And it takes no time at all to clean the pin when you’re done. With a large number of cherries to pit, though, my hand tends to cramp and my fingers get a little sore from holding the pin.
Method #3: Cherry Pitter
This is my preferred method, since I find it a bit faster, cleaner and easier than the other methods.
A cherry pitter is a simple contraption with a long, specially shaped bit that shoves the pit out of the cherry as it goes through from one side to the other. Place the cherry on the platform and squeeze the handle.
You should end up with a pit-less cherry and a pit in the catching tray below.
I couldn’t find a cherry pitter at local stores, so if you live in a small town, you might have a bit of trouble tracking one down, too. Fortunately, a friend let me borrow hers. I suspect every pitter is slightly different and may have its own quirks. For example, this one tended to leave the pit in the cherry if I didn’t squeeze it quickly.
I like that this method doesn’t require me to line up the cherry precisely and it isn’t as messy as the other methods. I found this faster after I got into a rhythm with it, too.
Do you have any favorite methods or machines to pit your cherries?