bowls of various olives

How to Pit Olives with a Funnel

Removing the pits from a bunch of olives is a finicky task if you haven’t got a specially designed pitter to hand. And even if you do have one, they can often remove too much of the flesh, perhaps making you consider that olive pitters are almost never worth the money. So, what to do if you’re tasked with preparing a platter of olives for a party but simply don’t have the patience or dexterity to use a paring knife to complete the job? The solution is to employ a piece of culinary equipment that you likely have in your cupboard already; a funnel. 

Perfect for neatly pouring bone broth into bottles and decanting jam into jars, a funnel also moonlights as a nifty gadget for pitting olives with ease. In fact, the process is so simple that even the kids can get involved; there are no sharp tools required, which means they can safely keep themselves busy in the kitchen. Moreover, this perk frees you up to get the other elements of your epic charcuterie board ready and make the perfect space for your olives. And once you’ve mastered this genius funnel trick you’ll soon be pitting olives like a pro to blend into homemade tapenade, scatter over focaccia, or simply strew over a Greek salad.

How to pit olives with a funnel

Plastic funnel

Start by placing the wide mouth of your funnel on the countertop so the spout is facing up (a metal one with a fine-edged spout will be better than a blunter one for pushing each olive through neatly). Rest your olive on the spout, and gently press your finger on the top of it, using slight pressure to push it halfway down. You should find that the pit is released and falls through the funnel and onto the counter. Finally, remove the pitted olive, which should still be sitting at the top of the spout, set it aside, and move on to stoning your next one.

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If the funnel is slipping when you press the olive down into the spout, consider laying a cloth underneath it to hold it steady. Be mindful to choose a cloth that you don’t mind getting dirty with the natural oils that are released from the olives as you pit them. A piece of kitchen towel makes a great alternative, and you can discard it along with the pits once you’re done, saving you on clean-up time. If the mouth of your funnel is wide enough, you could even put a small ramekin under the spout to collect up the stones as they fall through. Once all your olives are pitted to perfection you can throw them in your salad, add a handful to some chicken marbella, or simply snack on them as they are.

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