Cherry pits aren't just for spitting any more. They are used for filling a variety of toys and crafts. Any bean-filled craft project can be created with clean, dry cherry pits. Cherry pits also possess unique properties that make them ideal filling for hot or cold pads. Heating pads filled with cherry pits can be warmed in the microwave. The pit-filled pad will retain the heat for a long time. Cold pads kept in the freezer will retain their cool properties for a long time as well.
Cherry Pits in Heating and Cooling Pads
Clean, dry cherry pits are all natural and free of chemicals or additives. They have up to three times the heating capacity and heat retention properties of chemicals. Kept in the freezer, compresses filled with cherry pits also retain their cooling properties as long or longer than commercial gel-filled products. Cherry pits can be purchased online and through craft suppliers. Use a sturdy, heat-resistant material such as denim or canvas to sew a pillow or pouch for a heating or cooling pad. Keep the pad loosely packed for best results.
Cherry Pit Toys and Beanbags
Cherry pits are larger but lighter by volume than the beans used in bean bags and beanie toys. All but the smallest bean bags and toys are suitable for filling with clean, dry cherry pits. Bean bags for children's games may be safer and easier to toss for young children than heavier bean-filled bags. Cherry-pit-stuffed toy animals will be softer as well. A cherry-pit-stuffed animal or heart that can be heated in the oven can be made from denim or canvas for an environmentally friendly alternative to commercial gel-filled products.
Cleaning and Drying Cherry Pits for Crafts
Cherry pits must be completely clean and dry before they can be used in crafts. Place pits in a large bowl, and cover completely with cold water. Rub the pits between your palms to loosen the pulp. Rinse and repeat several times until the pits are clean. Simmer clean pits in a pot of water for about 15 minutes. Drain and place on clean dish towels to dry. Complete the drying process by spreading the pits in a single layer in a shallow baking pan. Bake the pits at 250 degrees for 1 to 2 hours to eliminate moisture. Store in a plastic bag or canister in a cool, dry location.
Purchasing Cherry Pits and Other Uses
Cherry pits that have already been cleaned and dried are commercially available through a number of online suppliers and in craft supply stores. Some canneries also sell cherry pits that are produced through the normal canning process. Cherry pits from canneries must be cleaned and dried prior to use. Cherry pits are also an excellent fuel for wood stoves and pellet burning stoves. They are a hotter-burning fuel and produce less ash than other biofuel alternatives such as dried corn and wood pellets.
Amy Sterling Casil is an award-winning writer with a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chapman University in Orange, Calif. She is a professional author and college writing teacher, and has published 20 nonfiction books for schools and libraries.