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Homemade Maraschino Cherries
2 lbs tart cherries, fresh
6 cups water
3 Tbsp salt use Real Salt from Utah!
4.5 cups cherry syrup see recipe on this site

Pick fresh tart or sweet-tart cherries. We like tart Montmorency best and Balatan is a nice sweet-tart species. Since the stems come off when you pick them, you should pit and brine the cherries as soon as possible to avoid bruising and brown spots.

Use the purest salt you can find. Most "sea salt" has additives (anti-caking agents, etc) which change the appearance and texture of your finished cherries. We prefer "Real Salt" mined in Utah with no additives.

Bring your brine to a boil while pitting the cherries. Remove brine from heat to cool until finished pitting.

Note: the ratio of salt to water DOES NOT CHANGE when more cherries are brined. Use a ratio of one tablespoon salt for two cups of water, increasing quantity of both as needed for cherry volume.

Dump pitted cherries into the brine and let sit for at least a day, perhaps two. Brining serves to give the cherries a firm texture, glossy color, and preserve the fruit.

While cherries are brining, make your Homemade Cherry Syrup.

Rinse cherries well, then place in your desired vessels. We use small canning jars but don't use the "canning" method of sealing. Instead, we add cherry syrup to fill each jar and then screw on the lid. In our experience these cherries keep for many months in a refrigerator.

By far the best maraschino cherries we have tasted, this recipe rewards use of quality ingredients and attention to detail.

Recipe adapted from David Solmonson and Maggie Dutton.

added December 27, 2015

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