Pitting Cherries Without a Pitter


Illustration by Edgar Stewart

Do you have a cherry pitter in your cluttered gadget drawer? If the answer is yes, read no further. But if you, like us, have avoided buying yet another single-use tool, here are a few different ways to pit a cherry (or an olive) without a pitter.

Regardless of the method, however, your fingers, board, counter, and apron are destined to be covered with crimson cherry juice, so be prepared with plenty of wet towels to quickly clean up any accidental stains.

If you don’t mind your cherries halved, then this is the method for you. Using a sharp paring knife, slice all around the equator of a stemmed cherry, then twist and split the two sides apart. Using your fingertips, or the tip of your knife, pluck the pit out.

Stem the cherry, then insert the fat end of a chopstick (one you don’t mind staining) into the hollow where the stem was. Push through— with some force—to the other side, and the pit will fall right out. This leaves a whole, pitted cherry behind.

This is by far the messiest way, but also the easiest (and it works really well on olives, too). Stem your cherries and line them up on a cutting board. Using the side of a wide chefs knife, press down on each cherry to squash it a little, then use a lobster pick to fish around for the loose pit inside until it falls out. Whole cherries, no pits.