Cherries are a delicious and nutritious fruit that can be enjoyed fresh or used in a variety of recipes. One popular way to use cherries is to juice them, creating a tart, sweet and vibrantly colored beverage. But before juicing cherries, many people wonder if it’s necessary to pit them first. There are pros and cons to consider when deciding whether or not to pit cherries before juicing.
Pros of Pitting Cherries Before Juicing
Here are some of the potential benefits of pitting cherries before juicing:
- Avoids hard pits in juice – Cherry pits are hard and if accidentally juiced can cause damage to juicers or be a choking hazard if consumed.
- Improves flavor – Some feel the flavor of cherry juice is better without the bitter taste of pits.
- Less wear on juicer – The hard pits can wear down juicer parts over time.
- Easier to strain – Pitted cherry juice may strain more easily through filters and sieves.
Overall, pitting cherries before juicing removes the solid chunks of pits, creates a more palatable juice and reduces potential damage to juicers. Many people feel the extra time spent pitting is worthwhile for the better flavor and texture of the resulting juice.
Cons of Pitting Cherries Before Juicing
However, there are also some downsides to consider when pitting cherries before juicing:
- Time consuming – Pitting cherries adds extra prep time before juicing.
- Loss of nutrients – A small amount of nutrients are lost when the pits are removed.
- Oxidation – Once pitted, cherries may brown faster as they are exposed to air.
- Juicer may handle pits – Some powerful juicers can actually break down and process cherry pits.
It takes significant time and effort to pit cherries – up to 5 minutes per cup. This extra prep work must be weighed against the flavor and texture benefits. Also, some small nutrients like cyanide and amygdalin are removed with the pits. While these compounds are toxic in large doses, they are harmless in the small amounts found in cherry pits. So overall nutrient content is only minimally reduced by pitting.
Do You Have to Pit Cherries Before Juicing?
Whether or not you absolutely must pit cherries before juicing depends on several factors:
Type of Juicer
The power and functionality of your juicer is a key consideration. There are two main types of juicers:
- Centrifugal juicers: These fast, spinning juicers are not equipped to handle pitted fruits. Cherries should always be pitted before placing in a centrifugal juicer.
- Masticating juicers: These slow juicers chew up produce using an auger. Many are powerful enough to break down and process cherry pits into juice.
So if you have a centrifugal juicer, pitting cherries is mandatory. But with a masticating model, you may be able to skip this step as long as you strain the juice after.
Some people don’t mind the texture of cherry juice with finely ground up bits of pits remaining. This is a personal choice based on your preferences:
- If tiny flecks of pit in the juice bother you, then pitting is best.
- If you don’t mind a pulpy, grainy texture, you can skip pitting.
Even if your juicer can handle pits, you may want to remove them for a smoother juice mouthfeel.
Consider how you want to use and serve the cherry juice. A few options include:
- Drinking straight
- Adding to cocktails or other beverages
- Cooking into sauces and desserts
- Canning or preserving
If juicing cherries for immediate drinking, pitting provides the best texture and safety. If being used in cooking or blending, then leaving pits in while juicing may be fine.
How to Pit Cherries for Juicing
If you opt to pit your cherries, here are some tips for the most efficient methods:
Pitting cherries by hand is simple but time consuming. Rinse cherries and pat dry. Use a paring knife to slice around the cherry at the seam and gently twist to separate into halves. Use the knife tip to pop out the pit from each half.
Cherry Pitter Tool
A cherry pitter is a specialized tool that quickly cores cherries. Simply place a cherry in the device, squeeze the handles to activate the plunger, and the pit is removed. This makes quick work of pitting large batches.
Oxo Good Grips Cherry and Olive Pitter
The Oxo Good Grips is a popular cherry pitter with a splatter guard to help minimize juice stains. It pits up to 25 cherries per squeeze and collects pits in a receptacle for easy disposal.
Juicing Pitted Cherries
Once your cherries are pitted, you’re ready to juice! Be sure cherries are thoroughly cleaned before juicing.
Here are some tips for juicing pitted cherries:
- Balance cherry juice with other produce like apples, berries or beetroot. This enhances the flavor and nutrient profile.
- Mix in lemon juice to help prevent browning of the cherry juice.
- Strain juice through a mesh sieve or nut milk bag to catch any remaining fragments.
- Store cherry juice in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- Freeze cherry juice in ice cube trays for use in smoothies.
Enjoy your cherry juice fresh or use it to create delicious drinks, baked goods, sauces and more.
Nutrition Facts of Cherry Juice
Cherry juice made from pitted sweet cherries provides the following nutrition in a 1 cup (248 gram) serving:
|Vitamin C||10% DV|
Cherry juice is high in antioxidants like anthocyanins and carotenoids. It provides anti-inflammatory benefits and may help reduce muscle damage and recovery time after exercise.
To get the best texture and flavor when juicing cherries, it is generally recommended to pit them first. Pitting removes the solid chunks of stone that can damage juicers or create a gritty mouthfeel. The exception is if you have a powerful masticating juicer that can handle pits. However, for most centrifugal juicers pitting is a must. Be sure to pit cherries just before juicing to minimize oxidation and browning. Enjoy the sweet tang of juiced cherries in smoothies, beverages, baking and more. Drink up and get your dose of the unique phytonutrients found in cherries.