A cherry pitter, also called a cherry stoner, is a device for removing the pits of cherries and other small stone fruit, such as olives. Using a cherry pitter will greatly reduce kitchen time for recipes like cherry pie and preserves, as removing the pits by hand can be extremely time consuming. Most kitchen specialty supply stores carry several cherry pitter types ranging from simple hand held models to large ones which clamp onto counters and are designed to pit multiple fruits at once. The pitter will remain a durable and useful kitchen tool as long as it is properly maintained, although the blade or blades may need to be sharpened periodically for optimal functioning.
Many cooks become frustrated when working with cherries because a large part of the fruit's volume is taken up with an inedible pit, also called a cherry stone. Because the fruits are so small, a large number of cherries must be pitted before pies, jams, and other fresh fruit recipes can be made. Pitting stone fruit in such a large volume is tedious, and could aggravate repetitive stress injuries as well. In addition, pitting fatigue may lead to kitchen accidents, as the cook may become careless with the sharp paring knife used for pitting. A cherry pitter, therefore, is an investment to consider, especially for cooks with a surplus of this tasty summer fruit.
There are two basic models of pitter: clamp on models, and hand held versions. A hand held cherry pitter usually resembles a garlic press, with a depression for the cherry to be placed in, and a flat disk to force the fruit through a blade which will cut away the flesh and leave the pit. However, the cherry needs to be precisely positioned in the pitter in order for it to work. This type of cherry pitter also requires a lot of handwork, and is not practical for large projects.
For cooks who handle a large volume of cherries, several companies make a high volume cherry pitter with a hopper which is designed to clamp to a countertop. Cherries are fed into the hopper and forced through with a plunger. As the fruits push through, the pitter separates the flesh and the stones. Some versions of this type of cherry pitter for home use can handle as many as 70 cherries at a time.