It's cherry-pickin' season, and as usual, I bought about double what I really needed — or any one human being could eat before they go bad without developing seemingly permanent pink teeth. The good news is, I can always make maraschino cherries.
Spoiler alert: I did, and now I'm telling you how to do it too.
Maraschino cherries take their name from maraschino liqueur, which is made from cherries. And if you want to just soak your cherries (pitted, of course) in that, there's not a European who'd blame you. Just soak fresh cherries covered in maraschino liqueur if they're intended for those secret late-night three-ice cream sundaes with chocolate sauce and whipped cream all kids know their parents secretly eat at night after cruelly forcing them to go to bed early.
But if you want to share your maraschino cherries with people of all ages, we've got the American-style recipe for you.
American maraschinos feature cherries soaked in cherry-flavored simple syrup with spices and a secret (and unexpected) ingredient: a dash of almond extract. Don't expect your maraschino cherries to have that weird neon color characteristic of what you get in the store. That color is due to artificial colors (another good reason to DIY). Homemade maraschinos actually get darker in color. And depending on how long you let them soak, they may also be firmer than you're used to. In short, they're so much better than the fake things you get on aisle 2.
If you don't have a juicer, press pitted cherries through a garlic press over a fine mesh sieve with a bowl underneath to collect the juice.
Yields 1 pint
Prep time: 20 minutes | Inactive time: 3 days-plus | Cook time: 5 – 10 minutes | Total time: 3 days, 25 – 30 minutes (or more)
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