Monday, August 27, 2007

What are Maraschino Cherries?

-Brian, from Chicago

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Hi Brian!

Maraschino cherries are the bright red cherries found on top of ice cream sundaes. Its sweet taste and bright red color leads many people to believe that it is artificial or manufactured.

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Since I like Maraschino cherries, I decided to look more into where this sweet topping comes from.

How it is made

Maraschino cherries are real cherries that are pickled (in brine, just like pickles). When ready, the cherries are transferred into a syrup of sugar containing a natural red dye. The cherries absorb the sugar and color, giving a sweet flavor and bright red color.

Different flavors and colors can be added to make the cherries appear and taste different. Maraschino cherries typically have almond extract in the syrup. It is also not uncommon to find cherries with a mint taste, which comes from adding peppermint oil to the syrup.

The cherries are then packed in a jar filled with the syrup, sealed, and shipped out, eventually finding their way to sundaes across the nation.

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Maraschino cherries are obviously not grown on trees. It is processed with natural ingredients to give the final taste and color. While these cherries are not good for you, I am sure the soda or ice cream that it came on is worse.

Enjoy!

Dr. Dave

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