I’m not going to lie and say pitting fresh cherries is easy. No, it can be slow and tedious, even if you have the technique down.
But this is work that’s worth it. Fresh, sweet cherries are such a treat, and so good for you. (A cup of fresh raw cherries is high in fiber, Vitamin C and antioxidants, which can help prevent cancer and heart disease.)
And this week, they’re such a steal: just $1.99 on sale at your neighborhood Brookshire’s! That’s as much as $5 off the regular price. And that’s also a pretty good incentive to learn how to properly pit a cherry.
Of course, sweet cherries are good just eaten out of hand, but if you want to use them in pies, cobblers, sauces or salsas, you need to master the art of pitting. You can buy special cherry pitting tools which makes the job much easier, by forcing out the pit in one move, but if you don’t have one, here are two techniques to try:
- The paperclip method: Then, remove the first cherry’s stem. Insert a clean, unused paper clip into the hole left by the removed stem. Push paperclip deeper into the cherry, twisting, until you can feel the paperclip touching the pit. Gently scoop out the pit. (You can also use a toothpick, a thin bamboo skewer, a manicure stick or another small, sharp object, but paperclips seem to work best for most people.)
- The knife method: Use a small paring knife to cut each cherry in half. You can then remove the pit with the tip of your knife or your fingers.
Don’t worry if your first few (or all of them) are a little mangled; they’ll still taste good. Then, once you’ve pitted them all, add to your favorite fruit salad or cobbler recipe. Or make this simple cherry sauce, to spoon atop ice cream or cheesecake.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pitted sweet cherries
Stir together water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and almond extracts.
Place cherries in bowl and pour over sugar syrup. Let marinate several hours or overnight.