Maraschino cherries are made from various cherries, and they all have pits as they grow.
However, the pits are squeezed from the fruit before the cherries are packaged and shipped.
As for the stems, they are left in place on some cherries and give maraschino cherries perfect little handles for when they are put into drinks.
The stems are removed from some packaged maraschino cherries, and either product can be chopped and added to your recipes.
Maraschino cherries have a long history, and why they don’t have pits is one facet of this exciting confection.
Maraschino cherries are like candied cherries; however, their syrup is not as sweet or thick.
Continue reading to learn why maraschino cherries don’t have pits.
Why don’t maraschino cherries have pits?
They do have pits as they are growing. However, the process used to make maraschino cherries softens them to the point that it makes the pit easy to remove. The exit point of the seed is so tiny; it is often difficult to see where the pit came out of the fruit. This is why so many people believe the cherries used for maraschinos are pitless.
How do they make maraschino cherries?
Several varieties of cherry are used to make maraschino cherries, which are not a variety of cherries; it is a process.
Using Rainier, Royal Anne, and some golden types of cherry to make maraschino cherries, processors first soak the cherries in brine.
The brine contains sulfur dioxide and calcium chloride, which bleaches and softens the fruit.
The cherries remain in the brine from four to eight weeks.
However, some packers use salt to brine their cherries instead of calcium chloride and sulfur dioxide and get the same bleaching effect.
Once removed from the brine, they are moved into a bath of sugar, red food dye, and the oil of bitter almonds, or similar flavored oil, where they remain for about a month.
After this process, the pits are removed, and some have their stems removed, while others do not.
At this point, they are put into jars filled with sweetened liquid and preservatives.
Where did the maraschino cherry come from?
They were initially made from the marasca cherry of Croatia, and the maraschino liqueur was made from these cherries.
When making liqueur from the marasca cherry, they crush the cherries and preserve them after pickling.
Whole cherries preserved in this type of liqueur are called maraschino cherries.
The cherries remained whole instead of being crushed, and they began showing up in the United States in the early 1900s.
In 1912, the FDA defined them as marasca cherries preserved in maraschino.
If any variety of cherries besides the marasca cherry was used, they were called imitation maraschino cherries.
The definition of maraschino is a sweet liqueur that is distilled from the fermented juice of bitter wild cherry.
It also means cherries that have been preserved in the actual process of making maraschino cherries and imitation products.
Maraschino cherries are more than a cocktail garnish
Often used to garnish cocktails, pastries, sodas, cakes, and ice cream sundaes, maraschino cherries have many culinary uses.
Cherry syrup is often added to sodas.
Thus, Cherry Coke, 7up, and a little cherry juice added to Waldorf salad offer a delectable flavor.
Some drinks use the maraschino cherry as a main ingredient, and without the cherry, the drink would not be the same.
The Shirley Temple, Tequila Sunrise, and the Queen Mary are nicknamed ‘cocktail cherries,’ whose elements are based on maraschino cherries to enhance their flavor.
Cherry juice is also made into a liqueur that can be added to drinks or used in cooking.
It, too, has the strong sweet flavor of cherries that can impart its flavors to your recipes.
Is there alcohol in the syrup of maraschino cherries?
There was alcohol in the first rendition of maraschino cherries.
When they were first pickled and turned into liqueur, marasca cherry juice did contain alcohol.
However, the first maraschino cherries produced by Luxardo do not contain alcohol.
As a result, they are much sweeter. In addition, the syrup is thicker than lesser maraschino cherries because they are genuine candied cherries made from a family recipe.
Luxardo does make a cherry liqueur; however, you can use it in cocktails and other recipes if you want the flavor of cherries with a little extra zip.
Frequently Asked Questions About Why Don’t Maraschino Cherries Have Pits
Do all cherries have pits?
They do, and their seeds are cling-free, which means they release the fruit quickly, especially after being processed for maraschino cherries.
Do maraschino cherries need to be refrigerated?
Maraschino cherries can be kept in a cool, dark place, at room temperature, for two to three months.
How long will maraschino cherries last in the refrigerator?
Maraschino cherries will stay fresh for 6 to 12 months under refrigeration.
Maraschino cherries have their pits removed during processing
Soaking cherries in brine and then syrup before packing makes the skin of the cherry soft.
This factor and cling-free seeds aid in removing the pits from cherries during the process of becoming a maraschino cherry.
Their pits are so small that it can be hard to see where they left the fruit.
All cherries have pits, and some have pits bigger than others.
However, cherries used to make maraschino cherries have easily removed pits.
As a result, they offer a soft, sweet fruit as excellent in a Shirley Temple as it is on top of an ice cream sundae.