De-stoning cherries is the pits—unless you have the right tool.
Last Updated Sept. 21, 2021.
After our former favorite cherry pitter by Tovolo was discontinued, we received a number of great recommendations for cherry pitters from readers. We tested two of them and recommend them both. Our new winner is the Leifheit Cherry Pitter “Cherrymat,” which wowed us with its efficient, lightning-fast performance—it pits cherries even more quickly than our former favorite, and it’s easy to use as well.
You can pit cherries by hand, but a cherry pitter can save lots of time, quickly pitting the fruit so that it can be used for preserves, pies, and more. These gadgets can also be used to pit olives. Since our last testing, many new products have entered the market, and all of them work in essentially the same way: A mechanism drives a dowel through the stem end of a cherry and pushes the pit out the bottom. Some, such as our former winner, the Progressive Prepworks Cherry-It Pitter ($15.00), have several dowels to pit multiple cherries simultaneously; others handle just one cherry at a time. We bought 12 models priced from $3.99 to $19.99—eight single pitters and four multipitters, including our previous winner—and put them to the test, pitting nearly 50 pounds of cherries and 5 pounds of olives to find the best tool for the job.
A basic problem emerged immediately: Most of the models just weren’t accurate. Only one successfully removed 100 percent of the cherry pits. The other models were inconsistent, making it impossible for us to recommend half of them; when you’re eating cherry pie, the last thing you want is to bite down on an errant pit. Some models simply didn’t stabilize the cherries adequately, so they slipped around within the loading chamber, forcing the dowel to enter the fruit off-center and sometimes miss the pit entirely. Curved dowels or dowels that entered the cherries at an angle sometimes pushed the pit sideways into the fruit; dowels that plunged straight down into the cherries were more successful. And finally, some dowels were too narrow to dependably find purchase on the pits, skidding past them instead of pressing them through. Dowels that were at least 0.28 inches in diameter tended to be more accurate, and our winner had fairly thick dowels—almost 1/2 inch across, which helped it remove all the pits every time.
That said, thicker dowels, including the ones on our winner, tended to make bigger holes in the cherries, wasting a tiny bit more of the fruit (about ¹/16 teaspoon per cherry with our winner). Most of our testers were willing to sacrifice aesthetics and a little fruit for better speed and accuracy; after all, a cherry pitter won’t save you any time if you have to go back and pick through the fruit to make sure the pits came out. In fact, because their performance was so unreliable, two of the multipitters actually took longer to pit 1 1/2 pounds of cherries (7 1/2 to 8 minutes) than most of the single pitters (6 to 7 minutes). Our favorite multipitter, however, was both accurate and fast, dispatching the same weight of cherries in just 31/2 minut...
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.