When you have an abundance of cherries to deal with you’re going to want to invest in a cherry pitter. Our great-grandmothers probably all had one but today you don’t see them anymore unless you walk into a specialty store or happen to find an old one at a garage sale or auction.
If you don’t have a cherry pitter, can’t find one or can’t afford one, stay tuned because I’ll share a simple pitting method in a minute, just using a modified eating fork.
But first the pitter…
Every July our pitter gets hauled out of the pantry, dusted off and clamped onto our table or island for a good pitting session.
The washed and stemmed cherries go in the hole on top, we put a dish underneath the pitter in which all the pitted cherries and juice will end up. Let’s not forget to put a small bowl right underneath the exit spout to catch all the unwanted pits… and crank away.
The pitted cherries do not look very pretty anymore but taste great in yogurt, ice cream and smoothies. You can also use them in pies, muffins and more. We aim to get at least 20 medium freezer bags filled with pitted cherries to use all winter to put in those items just mentioned.
We save the juice from pitting, quite a bit of it is lost, but not a total loss as you’ll see.
The pits and left-over juice get dumped in a pot, and boiled for 20 minutes or so and then poured into a clean mason jar and you’ve got juice. (see picture at top)
When you need to preserve or use pitted cherries in a recipe, this is a very simple and fast method to get the pits out of your cherries. Like I mentioned before, the cherries don’t look very pretty anymore. If you need pretty cherries to decorate the top of a cake, muffins or pie the following method will be much better.
You take a simple fork, preferably an older one that you don’t need for eating. Using some pliers bend the outer two tines all the way in and down.
For the two middle tines you’ll just bend the uppermost 1/8th of an inch to a 90 plus degree angle, just make a nice little hook. Your fork, or newly made cherry pitter, should look like this.
Take a washed and stemmed cherry in your hand, push the middle tines of your modified fork into the middle of the cherry until you feel the pit, “grab” the pit with the tines and roll or dig it out.
This takes a minute to get the hang of but it works great. Of course it’s a longer procedure than the pitter but leaves your cherries looking beautiful.