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Cherries are a fine fruit. They’re delicious, healthy, and, thanks to slot machines and iPhone apps, cherries have come to symbolize luck and fortune. Of course, if you accidentally bite into a cherry pit, you might not feel lucky at all on your way to the dentist.
There’s also the perennial question of where to spit the cherry pits—a bowl, a napkin, into your hand, straight onto the ground…. Despite the cherry’s romantic reputation, spitting their seeds anywhere isn’t very attractive.
What if you didn’t have to spit them out? Welcome to the world of cherry pitters.
The world of cherries
During the summer, about 370 million pounds of cherries are grown each year in the United States. Cherries have an unusually short harvesting period (May–July) and a very short shelf life, so you need to get them and eat them as quick as you can. It’s a sad, sad truth. No one likes to be denied, and we are annually denied fresh cherries for 9 months of the year.
There are essentially two types of cherry: sweet, and tart (or sour, as they are also known). We eat sweet cherries raw and fresh, while tart cherries develop a bold flavor when cooked and are normally used for baking. Tart cherries are also used in juice concentrates to add nutritious health benefits.
Cherries are often associated with unhealthy foods. When we think of cherries, we imagine a massive ice cream sundae or milkshake with an alarmingly red cherry sitting pretty on top. Maraschino cherries are preserved cherries that are drowned in sugar syrup and dyed. It doesn’t have to be like that. Cherries are actually quite good for you!
Did you know that the process used to make cocktail cherries is similar to glacé fruit? You can make candied fruit at home via the sous vide method!
Cherries are magic
Like other fruits, cherries are rich in fiber and vitamin C. If that fact alone doesn’t make you want to run to the nearest grocery store or Farmer’s Market in search of this superfood, they also contain powerful antioxidants, such as anthocyanins and cyanidins. These two chemicals might be impossible to pronounce correctly, but they are thought to be important cancer-fighters!
Loaded with anti-inflammatories that can help with arthritis and reduce muscle fatigue, cherries are a great addition to a healthy, balanced diet. Just remember to keep an eye on the sugar!
For those of you watching your weight, cherries might help you there, too. Studies show that cherries significantly reduce belly fat. A group of rats that was fed a highly fatty diet, but also consumed cherry powder, gained less weight and built up less body fat than another group who did not receive the cherry powder.
Yep! Cherries are definitely not the pits.
Don’t choke, pit them
As convincing an article as this may be, cherries do come with an unfortunate choking hazard. There’s no need to struggle with cherry pits, however! All you need is a good cherry pitter.
Depending on how many cherries you’re planning to go through, you have a bunch of options for a cherry pitter. The Leifheit Cherry Pitter is a great choice. You can throw literally a pound of cherries in this bad boy and have them pitted in an hour. Ideal for cooking and baking, it’s also a winner for people like me who tend to lose all sense of control while eating cherries. It’s also not too much of a hit on your bank account at about $30 to $40, depending on where you shop.
The OXO Good Grips Cherry and Olive Pitter pits cherries one at a time. It’s easy to use and delivers perfect cherries every time. The best part? It’s only $13!
Looking for something a little smaller? Ionox has a model that’s perfect for on-the-go snackers. This machine can easily fit in your lunch box, so you can munch on your favorite fruit wherever you are!
The cherry on top
Whether you’re in the mood for a slice of sweet cherry pie (everyone, always), or you’re looking for the perfect healthy snack, enjoy your fruit minus the pits with the best cherry pitters.
Feeling like taking a shortcut next time you bake? Try baking in a toaster oven. Here are my favorites.
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