The maraschino cherry is no longer a bad-tasting joke. Tillen Farms has created a delicious, all natural maraschino cherry—no artificial colors or flavors, no sulfites or preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup. (And we’ve been feeding these “standard” maraschino cherries to kids, who gobble up all that bad stuff!)
The FDA’s Standard of Identity defines maraschino cherries as “cherries which have been dyed red, impregnated with sugar and packed in a sugar sirup flavored with oil of bitter almonds or a similar flavor.” You know how that turned out.
Now you can bring peace of mind to parents and happiness of palate to hot fudge sundaes and Shirley Temples, not to mention adult fare like a Tom Collins or a Manhattan. Tillen Farms all-natural Merry Maraschino Cherries are the way to go with maraschino, made only with cherries, water, sugar, vegetable and fruit concentrate (for color) and natural flavor.
The cherries are $6.99 for a 14-ounce jar. If you want to buy a 12-jar case for gifts, stocking stuffers, etc., the price goes down to $6.39 per jar. You can purchase Merry Maraschinos online at TillenFarms.com. Individual bottles are available at fine food stores nationwide. The product is gluten free.
If you happen to have some cherry liqueur/kirsch, drain 10%-20% of the liquid from the jar and replace it with liqueur. The kids may not like it, but you will. Brandy works, too.
Life can be a bowl of maraschino cherries.
MARASCHINO CHERRY HISTORY
The ubiquitous maraschino cherries were once quite elite.
The Marasca cherry (Prunus cerasus var. marasca) is a type of sour Morello cherry that grows largely in Bosnia, Croatia, Herzegovina, northern Italy and Slovenia.
With a bitter taste and a drier pulp than other cherry varieties, they are ideal to make cherry (maraschino) liqueur. The cherries were originally preserved in the liqueur as a delicacy for royalty and the wealthy.
In the 19th century, the preserved cherries became popular in the rest of Europe, but the Balkans supply was too small for the whole. Hence they became a pricey delicacy, largely confined to royalty and the wealthy.
Because of the relative scarcity of the Marasca tree, other cherries came to be preserved in various ways and sold as “maraschino,” leading to the red-dyed version we have come to know, with no liqueur but plenty of corn syrup.
The Marasca cherry tree is very fussy about where it will grow, so in the U.S., the Royal Ann cherry variety is used to make “maraschino” cherries.
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