To pit or not to pit: The Cherry Jam Making Conundrum

When it comes to making homemade cherry jam, a common question arises: Do you need to pit cherries before making jam? The answer may surprise you, as it ultimately depends on your personal preferences and the desired outcome of your jam-making adventure. Join us as we delve into the world of cherries and explore the pros and cons of pitting these luscious fruits before turning them into delicious spreads.

Preserving the pits: Tradition and Flavor

In traditional jam making, cherries were often left unpitted, as their pits add a unique depth of flavor to the final product. As the cherries cook, their pits release subtle almond-like notes that enhance the overall flavor profile. Preserving the pits can result in a jam with a slightly more complex flavor, adding an element of surprise and nostalgia to each spoonful.

The Pit Predicament: Texture and Convenience

While leaving the pits in cherries can provide flavor benefits, it also presents some challenges. The pits can affect the texture of the jam, leaving behind small, hard pieces that some may find undesirable. In addition, eating cherries with pits can be uncomfortable, requiring careful eating to avoid discomfort or accidentally biting into a pit. For those seeking a smoother jam texture and a hassle-free eating experience, pitting cherries before making jam is a popular choice.

To Pit or not to Pit: A Matter of Preference

The decision to pit cherries before making jam ultimately comes down to personal preference and desired outcome. If you appreciate the added flavor complexity and enjoy the process of appreciating the fruit in its entirety, leaving the pits intact may be a worthwhile choice. On the other hand, if you prefer a smooth texture and a hassle-free eating experience, pitting the cherries in advance may be the way to go.

Pitting Methods and Considerations

For those who choose to pit cherries, there are several methods available to make the task easier. Cherry pitters, handheld devices designed specifically for removing pits, can streamline the process and save time. Alternatively, you can use a small knife or paper clip to carefully remove the pits by hand.

It’s important to note that some cherry varieties, such as sour cherries, have pits that are easier to remove than others. Consider the specific type of cherry you are using and the associated ease or difficulty of pitting when making your decision.

How to Pit a Cherry – Instructions and Tips

Pitting cherries may seem like a daunting task, but with the right technique and tools, it can be a relatively simple process. Here are some instructions and tips to help you pit cherries effectively:

  1. Gather your supplies: You’ll need a sharp paring knife or a special cherry pitter. Cherry pitters are specifically designed to efficiently remove pits and are available at most kitchen supply stores.
  2. Prepare your workspace: Set up a clean and spacious work area with a cutting board or clean towel to catch any juices. It’s also a good idea to have a bowl nearby to collect the pitted cherries.
  3. Choose your technique: a. Use a paring knife: Hold the cherry firmly with one hand and use the paring knife to make a small incision around the stem area, circling the cherry. Gently twist the cherry to separate the two halves and expose the pit. Carefully remove the pit with the tip of the knife or your fingers.b. Using a cherry pitter: If using a cherry pitter, simply place the cherry in the pitter with the stem side up. Squeeze the pitter to push out the pit, leaving the cherry intact.
  4. Be careful with the juice: Cherries can be juicy, and their juice can stain surfaces. To minimize mess, consider wearing an apron and working over a cutting board or towel to catch any spills. If you’re concerned about staining, you can also wear gloves.
  5. Work in batches: If you have a large number of cherries to pit, it’s best to work in smaller batches. This helps maintain efficiency and prevents cherries from sitting out too long, which can lead to browning.
  6. Practice safety: When using a paring knife, be careful to avoid accidental cuts. Keep your fingers away from the blade and work slowly and deliberately. If using a cherry pitter, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and be aware of sharp edges.
  7. Inspect for remaining pits: After pitting each cherry, check to make sure the pit has been completely removed. Sometimes a partial pit may remain, so it’s important to double-check before using the cherries in your recipe.
  8. Enjoy your pitted cherries: Once you’ve pitted your cherries, they’re ready to be used in your favorite recipes, such as jams, pies, tarts, or as toppings for desserts and salads.

By following these instructions and tips, you’ll be well-equipped to pit cherries efficiently and safely. Whether you use a paring knife or a cherry pitter, the result will be beautifully pitted cherries that are ready to be incorporated into your culinary creations.

The bottom line

When it comes to making cherry jam, the question of whether to pit cherries is a matter of personal preference and the desired outcome of your jam-making endeavor. Leaving the pits in the cherries adds a unique flavor complexity, but may affect the texture and convenience of the final product. Pitting cherries before making jam results in a smoother texture and eliminates the need for careful eating to avoid pitting. Either way, the joy of homemade cherry jam awaits, ready to spread its fruity goodness on your morning toast or accompany your favorite desserts.


Do you have to pit cherries before making jam?

No, you do not need to pit cherries before making jam. The decision to pit or not to pit cherries is a matter of personal preference. Pitting cherries before making jam ensures a smooth texture and eliminates the need to navigate around pits while enjoying the jam. However, leaving the pits in the cherries can give the jam a subtle almond-like flavor and add a unique depth to the overall flavor profile. Ultimately, the choice depends on the desired texture, flavor, and eating experience you prefer for your homemade cherry jam.

Resourceful cooks in cherry-rich France, Italy and Eastern Europe have come up with a smart and simple solution: They leave the pits in. In fact, many cooks insist that the pits add flavor.

Do you have to pit cherries before cooking?

One of the first decisions when it comes to cooking fresh cherries is whether to pit or not to pit the fruit. It depends somewhat on the energy of the cook, but, aside from labor, the disadvantage to pitting or stoning is that some recipes just don’t come out right after the pits or stones have been removed.

Can you cook cherries with stones in?

I love eating raw cherries and also keep some to use in delicious cakes, desserts, ice cream and jam. I cook them with the stones in and remove them at the end of the cooking time for the best flavour.

How do you pit cherries for jam?

Quote from video: Use a small knife to cut the cherry in half using the tip start at the stem end carefully. Cut into the cherry turning as you go then twist beside slightly to remove the peel.

How do you make cherries without pitting?

How to pit cherries without a pitter

  1. A narrow pastry tip is sturdy enough to push through the fleshy fruit.
  2. The tip of a chopstick is just the right size to push the pit out the other side.
  3. Use a narrow-mouthed bottle to set the fruit on top and catch the seeds while using the chopstick method.

Can you can cherries with the pits in them?

Actually, canning cherries with the pits is perfectly acceptable, but I don’t really recommend it. It makes them quicker and easier to use if you go ahead and pit them now. If you want to can them with the pits, just prick each cherry with a sterilized needle to prevent it from bursting.

What is the easiest way to pit cherries?


  1. Stem a cherry and place it on top of your empty bottle, with the top facing up.
  2. Hold on to the cherry as you place your chopstick above the cherry, where the stem used to be. Push down until you can feel the pit. …
  3. Transfer pitted cherry to a bowl and repeat with the rest of your cherries!


Do Nanking cherries have pits?

The Nanking cherry will often set full crops when other fruits are lost to late-spring freezes. Fruit ripens in June and ranges from sweet to tart in taste. Most plants produce small fruits, only ½ inch in diameter, cherry shaped, and with a large pit inside.