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Celebrating 30 Years of ICAN: 30 Crafts–Cherry Pit Packs

Cherry Pit Packs
by Kelly Fischer


Any momma who has experienced back labor can tell you how blissful it is to have their partner/doula/nurse put a heating pad of some sort right where it hurts – and most doulas probably bring the familiar rice-in-sock version to each birth they attend.  While I’ll freely admit, there’s probably nothing cheaper and easier to assemble than a rice-sock heating pack (pour uncooked rice into sock, tie open end of sock into knot, microwave for 1 min) – I’d like to introduce you to the concept of cherry pits!

Advantages of using cherry pits:

  • Cherry pits have the unique ability to stay warm (or cold) for a much longer period than other fillers like rice. (Up to an hour)
  • When warmed in the microwave, cherry pits emit a moist heat which also has a slight but delightful bread-like smell. (oddly, no cherry pie smell)
  • Cherry pits can be WASHED! That’s right, finally the ultimate in durable, reusable and eco-conscious!  As long as the seams on your sewing are sturdy enough, just toss your cherry pit pack into the wash with the rest of your laundry!  (Yes I HAVE tried it! If you don’t want the smell of your detergent every time you warm your cherry pit pack, consider a wash cycle without detergent, or just extra rises. Feel free to put your cherry pit pack in the dryer as well, but be careful to remove it before the cycle is completed to avoid possibly overheating your cherry pits).

Now you’re probably thinking: sure cherry pits sound awesome, but I can’t possibly eat enough cherries to make even one heating pack, aside from the fact that it’s not exactly cherry season right now.  The good news is that you you don’t have to eat a bucket full of cherries (and deal with all that mess) – check out The Cherry Pit Store to order your own (washed!) cherry pits!


  • Choose a 100% cotton fabric of your choice (soft flannel, or cotton knit works perfectly).  Be careful to avoid polyester fabrics (like fleece) due to the possibility of melting the fabric if overheated.
  • Cut fabric into an 8in X 20in rectangle
  • Fold (long way, into a long tube shape… or short way, into a pillow shape) and sew all but one end
  • Fill with approximately 1.75 lbs cherry pits, and sew it closed!
  • Heat in microwave for 2-3 minutes, or chill in the freezer to use as a cold compress!

Great for soothing sore muscles, joint pain, back aches, or warming your toes on a cold winter night. Also fabulous to use during labor!


  1. Jenny says:

    Idea: Thousands of women who have experienced a cesarean birth and have joined ICAN could have a “Pit In”, consuming as many cherries as they could to produce an auctionable Cherry Pit pack for a birth center or women’s clinic.

  2. Kelly Fischer says:

    That is a pretty cool idea! Love the “Pit-In” concept!

  3. Barbara says:

    Great tip on where to buy pits. We pick sour cherries in our neighborhood each year but when I tried cleaning the pits to use in a heating pad I was unsuccessful. Much easier to buy them!

  4. Barb in Ohio says:

    Just cleaning out cherry pits from our Waldorf homeschooling days. I think I’ll make this project.

    It’s a bugger to clean pits but if you have a pitter to make cherry jam/pie or otherwise have a lot of pits it might be worth while. I cleaned mine while watching the children play outside. I used a container of water and sand and rubbed off the cherry fruit that was left. I had to rinse a few times and worked on them over the course of a few days but they eventually got clean and I have never had mold. I would recommend wearing rubber gloves, at least at the beginning, as the sand is pretty abrasive on the hands. A rock tumbler may also be a help if you have one or can borrow one.