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How to pit cherries without a pitter

Pile of pittec cherries
If you do a lot of baking with fresh cherries, a cherry pitter is a good investment. They are easy to use and allow you to pop pits out of whole cherries with very little effort. But cherry pitters aren’t necessarily must-have items if you plan to pit cherries only very occasionally and don’t want to spend the money – or give up the cupboard space – on another kitchen gadget. Fortunately, there are a couple of very easy ways to get those pits out of cherries without using any special equipment.

If you don’t need to keep your cherries whole, you can simply slice them in half with a small knife and pop the pit out with your finger. This method is not messy and goes pretty quickly when you have a sharp knife. Most of the time, I find that I don’t need my cherries to be whole. They work very well in ice creams, breads and pies when halved.

If you want your cherries whole, all you need is a bobby pin to get those pits out. Bend a [very clean] bobby pin to enlarge the curved end slightly, then poke that curved end into the cherry and use it to scoop out the pit. You can keep the same bobby pin in an envelope so it is ready to go the next time you need to pit cherries.

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  • Pam
    June 29, 2010

    Before I bought a pitter, I liked using a beer bottle and a chopstick. Place the cherry on the top of the bottle and press through the cherry with the chopstick. The pit will land in the bottle for easy cleanup.

  • Sarah R
    June 29, 2010

    Paper clips work too! Although after doing a couple of pounds worth of cherries, a pitter is on my birthday wish list!

  • Ã¥ngel
    June 29, 2010

    I’ve had great success with metal pastry tips. Use a smallish one with either a round or star tip; you have to be a bit more careful with the latter or you might end up poking your fingers!

  • Wendy (The Local Cook(
    June 29, 2010

    this is timely advice! I was just thinking I should go out and get a pitter . . . when I read this I was like ‘duh!’ Just cut in half. Why didn’t I think of that?

  • joyce
    June 29, 2010

    the beer bottle and the chopstick sounds like a great idea Pam!

  • Jennifer Jo
    July 1, 2010

    Until several weeks ago, I never used a pitter. Instead, I pitted gallons and gallons of cherries using nothing but my fingers, simply pressing on the cherry with my thumb and popping the seed out.

  • Sharon O'Connor
    June 10, 2012

    I used the beer bottle suggestion but I only had an empty white wine bottle on hand. Worked like a charm. I then added 1 cup of heated simple syrup and 1/4 vanilla bean to the remains in the bottle and let that sit for a while. YUM!

  • […] a large container and we will have to go back because that tree was loaded with cherries!  I used this tip to pit the cherries and it worked so well.  Then big sister and I used this recipe to make the […]

  • […] a glass, add chia seed and allow it to thicken up. -In a meanwhile, pit cherries using a pitter or this method. -Pour all the ingredients in the blender until smooth. -Serve […]

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