Wednesday, August 15, 2007

How to Pit an Olive?

In One Fell Swoop!

picture photograph image how to pit an olive 2007 copyright of sam breach http://becksposhnosh.blogspot.com/

As someone who spent almost 20 years trying to pit olives with limited success using only a small paring knife, I feel compelled to finally share some useful information I learned last year at Tante Marie's Cooking School. Sorry I selfishly kept this to myself for so long.

SMASH THE OLIVE OVER THE HEAD WITH A MEAT MALLET AND THE STONE WILL POP RIGHT OUT.






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© 2007 Sam Breach
How to Pit an Olive?

32 Comments:

  • At 15/8/07 07:35, Blogger Kitt said…

    Simply smashing! Thanks for the tip.

     
  • At 15/8/07 07:47, Anonymous kudzu said…

    Sam -- I was taught to press down on the olive with my thumb, but soon realized something a little stronger works better. (I usually use the blade of a cleaver). Thanks for passing on the trick!

     
  • At 15/8/07 08:54, Blogger Dive said…

    Haven't tried it yet, but if it works you won't believe how much time this saves me!!!

    BTW, I have an olive/cherry pitter but it only works so-so.

    Thanks!

     
  • At 15/8/07 09:52, Anonymous mary said…

    I usually first put a little slice in all the olives I want to pit, then use the blade of the chef's knife to pop out the pit, this leaves the flesh intact and I cut the olive in two or into smaller slivers, depending on what I'm making.

    P.S. Glad your appetite came back.

     
  • At 15/8/07 10:19, Blogger s'kat said…

    Fucking. Brilliant.

    Thank you, Sam, you've just saved me hours in the kitchen cursing at my kalamattas!

     
  • At 15/8/07 10:34, Blogger cookiecrumb said…

    Anybody want an unneeded cherry pitter? I think I have two...
    :D

     
  • At 15/8/07 11:59, Blogger Barbara said…

    That's way to sophisticated Sam. I just use the base of the jar the olives come in.

     
  • At 15/8/07 12:04, Blogger ChrisB said…

    And who do you imagine you are bashing as you do this?!?!

     
  • At 15/8/07 13:55, Anonymous kitchenbeard said…

    Who needs therapy when you have olives and a meat tenderizer?

     
  • At 15/8/07 15:50, Anonymous Hillary said…

    Haha, good to know! Thanks Sam.

     
  • At 15/8/07 15:52, Anonymous B said…

    I had been squashing them with the blades of my knife - but I prefer to use mallets whenever possible in my kitchen. looks like fun!


    B
    Hand to Mouth

     
  • At 15/8/07 16:16, Blogger Squishy said…

    Awesome!

     
  • At 15/8/07 17:59, Anonymous T Shane said…

    I have a cat named "Rubber Mallet". Will this work?

     
  • At 15/8/07 18:11, Blogger Owen said…

    I never get this far - olives are pitted in my house when inside our mouths....

    lovely that you are back - and take the R&R as needed - I took five months so your little week or so really doesn't count...

     
  • At 15/8/07 20:38, Blogger Vicki, San Marcos CA US said…

    I recall that Marcel Vigneron from Top Chef said that someone (don't remember that part) taught him how to pit an olive using a funnel. Can't for the life of me figure out how that would work, and I don't own a funnel, so I can't experiment...

     
  • At 16/8/07 12:15, Blogger Caffienated Cowgirl said…

    Fabulous! And a stress reliever too!

     
  • At 16/8/07 13:24, Blogger Stephen said…

    Great tip. Thanks! I usually crush them with the bottom of a saute pan.

     
  • At 16/8/07 18:47, Blogger Mercedes said…

    Brilliant- perfect since I have my eye on David's Fig and Olive Tapenade.
    So glad you're back to posting regularly!

     
  • At 17/8/07 03:05, Anonymous EmBee said…

    I can if anyone wishes to know tell how using a funnel would and could work. EmBee.

     
  • At 17/8/07 17:11, Blogger peter barrett said…

    I always squeeze them between thumb & forefinger. It usually works pretty well, but has been known to cause Purple Finger Syndrome.

     
  • At 17/8/07 17:12, Blogger A Few Reservations said…

    Lovely to see you back in action. And good to know!

     
  • At 17/8/07 22:54, Blogger Michael Natkin said…

    That looks fun. If I'm pitting them for cooking so they don't have to be perfect looking afterwards, I just squeeze em with my fingers and the pit pops out easy, at least with most varieties. But giving 'em a good whack might be even better!

    Michael Natkin
    The Vegetarian Foodie Blog

     
  • At 17/8/07 22:55, Blogger TasteTV : Life Never Tasted So good said…

    I'd be concerned about getting pit pieces in my mouth

     
  • At 18/8/07 13:22, Blogger Anne said…

    Lovely! You're back and my life is so crazy that I missed it.

    I was wasting time pitting by smashing with the side of my chef's knife--I so need to get a mallet before it gets out that I don't have one.

     
  • At 22/8/07 12:15, Anonymous veron said…

    great smashing tip!Now I can make a tapenade without worrying about getting those dang pits out. I love tante marie...such a charming school.

     
  • At 22/8/07 16:04, Blogger Moi said…

    I wish this worked on people.

     
  • At 22/8/07 17:59, Blogger Lulu said…

    I'm definitely going to try this, although my kitchen walls suffer when I and my meat tenderizer go to work. I'd be interested to hear from the cherry pitter people what isn't so great about that method; I've been thinking of getting one specifically to pit olives.

    I read about the funnel thing at Cook's Illustrated. It's a reader tip:
    "Place a funnel upside down on the work surface. Stand one end of the olive on the spout and press down, allowing the pit to fall through the funnel."

     
  • At 22/8/07 21:01, Anonymous N said…

    Vicki—

    The funnel guy was Ilan Hall, actually, although he did say (in the Food & Wine interview where the funnel comment can be found) that Marcel Vigneron was the one who taught him the trick.

    It is so sad that I can recall that from memory.

    Has anyone actually tried the funnel trick? I like the catharsis of the Tao de Mallet (a la Sam) loads better.

     
  • At 27/8/07 10:30, Anonymous Krista said…

    I feel like you've just changed my life. I love to put out olives at parties, but they are so much nicer without the pits. (And I hate cleaning up all the pits people have spit out on their own!)

    Krista
    http://kristainlondon.typepad.com

     
  • At 27/8/07 22:30, Blogger alyson. said…

    oh my gosh....amazing! I can't stand pitting olives. I'm off to buy a mallet!

     
  • At 28/8/07 06:17, Blogger louise said…

    Another tante marie tip: Use the tip of a swivel peeler (a straight one not a Y-one) to remove cherry stones. You dig them out like you would to remove potato eyes. Not as easy as smashing them, though...
    Also, do it inside a plastic bag so you don't get cherry juice *everywhere*...

     
  • At 3/5/09 15:11, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Just googled how to pit an olive because I unfortunately came home with unpitted ones!
    Thank you for the tip. I don't have a meat hammer, but I do have a pretty heavy duty muddler which I use on the olive after putting in a small slice as someone else suggested.
    Thanks Foodies - You Rock!
    Craig
    Vancouver, Canada

     

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