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Whether you are using fresh cherries for another recipe or eating them alone as a fast, healthy snack, the pits are in the way. This tutorial will show you how to pit cherries. Why pit the cherries? What tips are needed for the process? Read more to find out.

Pitted cherries and a cherry pitter on cutting board.

Why Pit the Cherries?

The cherry is a type of stone fruit where the small seed is enclosed by a pit, also known as a kernel. Why is it important to pit stone fruits like cherries? Because the pits contain a chemical called amygdalin that our bodies convert into cyanide. Cyanide is a toxin.

Pitted cherries and a cherry pitter on cutting board.

Now, if you accidentally swallow one or two, it is usually harmless. However, anymore than that can be dangerous, especially to children. So, it is recommended to not chew and swallow the pits. Be careful in pitting the cherries and make sure they are removed before eating fresh or using in baking, smoothies, freezing them etc.

Cherry Pitting Tips

Pitting cherries can get messy depending on the chosen method, so here are some tips on how to keep the pitting area clean as well as some general tips.

  • Some cherries can be quite juicy and splash on you when you break through the skin. Fruit juice can stain clothes, so an apron is recommended.
  • You can pit cherries on a cutting board, but if you are using a cherry pitter, I recommend pitting them over a bowl, so the cherries do not roll away.
  • If you do not want the cherry juice to stain your fingers, wear gloves during the process.
  • Always check to make sure the pit was released. Sometimes the cherry isn’t quite centered in the pitter and the pit remains inside.

Step 1: Grab Everything You Need

Cleaned whole cherries in colander.
  • 1 package fresh cherries
  • Cherry pitter
  • Cutting board
  • Bowl
  • Colander

Step 2: Clean the Cherries

Cherries in a colander with water running over them.

Rinse the cherries with cool water.

Step 3: Remove Stems

A woman's hand holding a cherry.

Remove the stems by simply pulling them off.

Stemless cherries on cutting board.

Step 4: Remove Pit

Cherries and cherry pitter on cutting board.

Using a cherry pitter, place the cherry upright in the center of the pit remover and squeeze the handles to push the pit out.

TIP: Do this over a cutting board and/or bowl as it does get messy!

Repeat with remaining cherries.

Cherries and cherry pitter on cutting board.

Step 5: Discard Pits

Pitted cherries and a cherry pitter on cutting board.

Discard the pits. Your cherries are ready to use or serve as desired!

What to do With Your Pitted Cherries

Once the cherries are pitted, there are many things you can do with them. You can:

  • eat them whole/fresh
  • make a smoothie
  • top your yogurt, ice cream, or other desserts
  • cook them down into a jam or sauce with some sugar and lemon juice
  • bake them into pies, cobblers, or black forest cakes (a personal favorite)
  • candy them by simmering them in hot syrup
  • freeze them for later use (Check out our tutorial on how to freeze cherries)
Pitted cherries and a cherry pitter on cutting board.

How to Pit Cherries

Joss D
Whether you are using fresh cherries for another recipe or eating them alone as a fast, healthy snack, the pits are in the way. This tutorial will show you how to pit cherries.
No ratings yet
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins

Equipment

Cherry pitter

Materials

  • 1 package fresh cherries

Instructions
 

  • Rinse the cherries with cool water.
    Cherries in a colander with water running over them.
  • Remove the stems by simply pulling them off.
    A woman's hand holding a cherry.
  • Using a cherry pitter, place the cherry upright in the center of the pit remover and squeeze the handles to push the pit out. (Do this over a cutting board and/or bowl as it does get messy!)
    Cherries and cherry pitter on cutting board.
  • Repeat with remaining cherries.
    Cherries and cherry pitter on cutting board.
  • Discard the pits. Your cherries are ready to use or serve as desired!
    Pitted cherries and a cherry pitter on cutting board.

Notes

  • Make sure you are wearing clothing that you don’t mind getting dirty as the cherry juice can splash and stain.
  • Always check to make sure the pit was released. Sometimes the cherry isn’t quite centered in the pitter and the pit remains inside.
Keyword cherries
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What will you do with your pitted, fresh cherries? Let us know in the comments!

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