Pitting Kalamata Olives

Kalamata olives are now commonly available both with and without pits. If you accidentally pick up a jar containing pits (or just prefer unpitted olives), here's how to remove the pits from Kalamata olives before you cook with them.

If you're snacking on olives, the pits aren't much of a problem. If you're cooking with the olives, however, you'll need to know how to pit olives so no one bites down too hard and hurts a tooth. Kalamata olives used in recipes are often chopped or sliced, so the pit needs to be removed.

Some cherry-size olives can be pitted with a cherry pitter. If you don't have one or if the olives are the wrong size, use this method to pit an olive:

  1. Gently crush the long side of an unpitted olive with your thumb (or the broad side of a chef's knife, if the flesh is clinging to the pit) to break it open.
  2. Pull the sides of the olive apart, exposing the pit. Remove the pit. If the olive does not pull apart easily, use a paring knife to cut the pit away from the flattened olive.

Tip: Some olives, such as Cerignola olives, are very difficult to pit. Serve these types of olives as appetizers, keeping a bowl handy for discarding the pits as guests bite away the olive flesh. Always warn guests when serving unpitted olives.

Pitted vs. Unpitted Olives

With pitted olives so readily available, why would you buy unpitted olives? Some argue that the processing of pitted olives results in a saltier olive with mushier texture. Unpitted kalamata olives are often cheaper than their pitted counterparts making them a better option for your budget, too.

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