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Ask a Foodie: How Are Maraschino Cherries Made?

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CherriesQ. I usually buy maraschino cherries around this time of year for making Christmas cookies.  Does the word  “maraschino” refer to a variety of cherry? How are they made?

A. Not exactly. The way the term “maraschino”  came about was because these bright red and green candied fruits once were made with an Italian liqueur by that name. Because maraschino liqueur became expensive, the cherries are now pitted, then soaked in a flavored syrup, according to “Food Lover’s Companion” by Sharon Tyler Herbst.

Usually, the red cherries are soaked in an almond syrup while the green ones are soaked in mint. Then, the cherries are dyed. Marschino cherries can be bought either with or without stems. Also according to “Food Lover’s,” most any variety of cherry can be used for this preparation, but generally Royal Ann is the one most often used.

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