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Thoughtful friends or neighbors offer you lovely cherries fresh from their tree. Who doesn’t love cherry pie? Warm cherry crisp? Fresh cherries have to be better than the bright red viscous ooze you buy in a can, right?

Unless you have or intend to immediately buy a cherry pitter, tell your considerate neighbors no, thanks, but I have more pressing matters to attend to, such as unspooling and measuring the toilet paper to be sure I got all 318.7 square feet Costco promised me. Then buy some cherries already pitted.

Next best method, buy a damn cherry pitter.* It’s the only way. Chopstick? Liars. Smash under a knife and remove the pit from the glop stuck to your cutting board? Might as well chew it up and spit what’s left of the cherry into one bowl and the pit in another. Use a straw to push the pit out? Maybe, if your straw is made of titanium. Use a nut/lobster/crab/dental pick? Only if you have unlimited time to produce cherry mush. Cut around the pit, then twist the two halves away from the pit? Sure, if the pie you’re making requires no more than five cherries and you don’t mind wearing more cherry than you eat. All of these ideas? Lies, lies, and more lies.

*This is the only cherry pitter I’ve ever used, so I don’t know if there is a better one. It worked great, and I’ll need it only once every five years or so, which means my search for a cherry pitter is over.