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Friday, July 02, 2010

To Pit a Cherry, or Two Hundred

Last summer when T. and I went out to my parents' place in Washington State for the cherries (and to, you know, visit) I had some slick little Oxo cherry pitters shipped there a week in advance. Hey, I was excited. We don't get many cherries—much less sour cherries—down here in the GA.

I shouldn't have bothered, though, because we determined, through the highly scientific experiment known as a "race," that the paperclip does a much, much faster job. Also a better one, because it makes only one hole in the cherry rather than two, so the cherry stays nice and intact and plump—this is what you want if you're making brandied cherries or sour-cherry preserves, or freezing a quart bag of sweet cherries for a winter clafouti.

First get yourself a large paperclip and unfold it once, like the one in the picture above.

Pull off the cherry stem:

Hold the cherry firmly in one hand and jam the small fold of the paperclip into the cherry where the stem was, angling it a bit so it slides right along one side of the pit:

You'll be able to feel when the bend in the clip has reached the end of the pit. Now lever the pit and sort of pull it out the hole you just made. You might need to apply a little pressure with the fingers holding the cherry. (It's easier than it sounds.)

Cherry, one hole, no pit:

This was about four pounds of Bing cherries, and it took maybe ten minutes. So raid the supply closet at the office and pit some cherries this weekend!


Val said...

This couldn't have come at a better time! Here I was scolding myself for playing around on the internet when I should be doing something productive when along came your little blog and this brilliant paperclip idea. My procrastination in turning the 8 pounds of cherries in my fridge into jam and cakes will now have paid off!

Lexi said...

I read this post last Friday just before leaving the office for the Hamptons, where I would be assisting my hosts in the kitchen all weekend. And as luck would have it, upon being picked up at the train, my friend asked me, "What should we make for dessert tonight? We have a bunch of cherries, but be warned, we have no cherry pitter."
Serendipity is one of my favorite things. Also, now, this method of pitting cherries.

Liana Krissoff said...

I'm so glad to know this was useful and that the Friday-news-dump timing was so serendipitous.

Val: Mmm. Cherry cake is something I could definitely get behind.

Lexi: I need to know: What did you make for dessert?

Jen said...

I was watching "Antiques Roadshow" (an unlikely guilty pleasure for a 20-something perhaps) and I saw a machine that looked like a pitchfork on one end and a sort of flat stand on the other and it's sole purpose was to pit 2 or 3 cherries at the same time by just pushing down a lever to lower the little points of the pitchfork end through the cherries. Shew--that was long wasn't it? But if I can't find one of those antique cherry pitters, it's nice to have another quick technique!

Lara Alexander said...

nice idea! We do love our cherries here in Washington, especially Rainiers. Thanks for the tip!

Liana Krissoff said...

Jen: AR addiction is nothing to be ashamed of. And that pitchfork sounds really neat.

Lara: Rainier cherries right off the tree may be the best eating fruit there is. It's too bad they're so hard and bland by the time they reach the Southeast.