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How to Pit Olives

Simple Tip: Smash Olives to Remove the Pit

Last Sunday I was making dinner with my friend Sonia. While she deveined shrimp, I prepared the salad. "What are you doing?" she asked as I repeatedly slammed my hand on top of a knife. I was pitting olives and surprised to learn that she had never seen anyone pit olives before. As I was teaching her my technique, I realized I should share it with you, too!

To pit olives, for making salad or tapenade, place the olive on a cutting board. Set a wide kitchen knife on top of the olive. With the palm of your hand, hit the knife hard — like you would do when peeling garlic. The pressure flattens the olive and the pit pops out easily. This method also works for cherries, but be careful, cherries produce a lot of juicy splatters. How do you pit olives?

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