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Cooking with Sour Cherries

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I have been picking sour cherries. We all know the worst part - pitting them. These are delicate little Evans cherries so can't pull the pit out by yanking on the stem. I was wondering if anyone has made cherry jam and used a food mills to separate the good from the bad?

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  1. I use the round end of a big bobby pin to pit my cherries.

    1. I have an easy method for pitting, so long as you don't care what condition the cherries are in - for instance, in a sauce that's going to be cooked down, etc: use the flat bottom of a glass (or anything else, I suppose) to mash the cherries in groups and just pull the pits out. Make sure you cup your hand around the bottom of the glass as much as possible, as otherwise cherry juice will spray everywhere.

      In your case, I'd think that even mashed cherries would look pretty good in a jam. If anyone says anything, tell them it's "rustic." :D

      1 Reply
      1. re: nickblesch

        I do that with my cured black olives too.

      2. I've used a food mill to remove seeds from concord grapes, but I wouldn't try that with cherries; I think you'd end up with cherry mush, to say nothing of trying to rotate the food mill blades over cherry pits. You want some chunky texture in the jam. Try one of the pitting methods mentioned here. Cherry pitting can be a very zen experience.

        1. Yes, it is a very zen experience! The food mill did not work and I went back to using the cherry pitter. The U-Pick later told me that if I freeze the cherries and pit them when they are partially frozen, it works better. I like the bottom of the glass idea but would be careful for the juice splatters. Thanks :)

          1. I made jam this summer with some very ripe sour cherries for the first time. I pulled out the food mill, and with the first few cranks had mushed cherries and boken pits. Not a good idea. Then my coworker shared her cheap secret- a drinking straw. She takes one drinking straw and cuts it on a 45* bias, then you have a very sharp hollow point. Simply poke though. This keeps the integrity of the cherry pretty well, and less fuss than a pitter, but maybe not as easy as the drinking glass technique.

            1. With a bit of practice and a paring knife, it's pretty easy to do by hand.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sonia darrow

                I use a paper clip.