You’ll never spit out a pit again.
Food & Wine’s resident Mad Genius is back this week to address one of life’s many small inconveniences: olive pits. We always love those beautiful, big green olives that come in a bowl at a fancy wine bar, or an expensive jar of imported Kalamatas—but what if there was a way to make eating them just a little bit less annoying?
That’s where our Deputy Test Kitchen Editor Justin Chapple has you covered. He poses a problem: “You want to pit an olive, but you don’t have an olive pitter.” Honestly, who does? It’s not exactly at the top of everyone’s “must-have” kitchen gear. His solution: two takeout lids. Trust us.
Take one lid—we’re talking the round, plastic kind, like from a takeout order of pho—and place it right side up on a work surface. Put a few of your olives into it—the ridge on the lid should keep them from rolling away—and invert the second lid on top, ridge down.
“At this point,” says Justin, “you have two options: you can use the palm of your hand...or you can be like me and use a meat mallet.” Whatever method you choose—the mallet sounds like more fun—just make sure you have enough smashing power. Hit each olive, one by one, while (carefully!) using your other hand to keep the lids together.
After just seconds, you can remove the top lid to reveal mostly-intact but notably pit-free olives. Repeat as needed until you have enough for your antipasti...or, like Justin, a martini.
This method is so fun, you’re going to have a lot of olives to use up. Try some of our favorite olive recipes, make yourself a cocktail or take a stab at marinating your own. And for more kitchen hacks, check out the rest of Food & Wine’s Mad Genius Tips.