Fresh, in-season cherries make the most delicious summer desserts. We love to pack them in pies, use them as a base for cobbers, or freeze them into silky ice cream. You can even soak cherries in bourbon or moonshine and use them as a sweet addition to your favorite cocktail recipe. While cherries are readily available in the summer and usually a great price, every home cook runs into the same issue when trying to include them in a dish: How does someone pit 4 cups of cherries without turning the kitchen into a total crime scene?
If you've got a cherry pitter in your kitchen drawer, this tip isn't for you. The simplest way to pit cherries is to spend about $15 on a tool specifically designed for minimizing the mess. For an option with great Amazon reviews, you may want to try out the OXO Good Grips Pitter.
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For the rest of us, however, pitting cherries without a tool is messy. With sweet cherries on sale, I recently had the urge to make my own homemade cherry pie filling. Not having a pitter, I pulled apart each cherry individually and scooped out the seed with my hands. After a full hour, I had finally pitted all of the cherries, and I had deep red-stained hands to prove it. Pulling the seeds by hand is not the most efficient way to pit cherries.
We've found a better option for those home cooks who need a kitchen hack to save them a little time (and, from a big mess). This easy trick to pitting cherries only requires two tools: a bottle and a chopstick. Any size bottle will work, as long as the cherries you're pitting are larger than the mouth. Glass bottles work best for this, such as beer or wine bottles, but sturdy plastic ones can also do the trick. Place a single cherry on top of the mouth of the bottle. Remove the stem, so that the little white divet is showing; this will be your guide to placing the chopstick. Taking the chopstick, punch through the top of the cherry, straight down, so that the seed falls into the bottle.
Because chopsticks aren't very wide, you aren't losing much of the cherry's fruit with this trick. Not only does this method minimize splattering cherry juice, it also conveniently catches your seeds. So, there's no need to shy away from Grandma's best cherry pie recipe – enjoy a glass of wine, and get to pitting!