Pitting Kalamata Olives

Most kalamata olives are sold unpitted. Here's how to remove the pits before you cook with them.
Pinch one end of the olive with your thumb and forefinger until the pit pops out.

If you're snacking on olives, the pits aren't much of a problem. If you're cooking with the olives, however, you'll want to remove the pits so no one bites down too hard and hurts a tooth. Kalamata olives used in recipes are often chopped or sliced, too, so the pit has got to go.

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.

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