I really like Maraschino Cherries and those little jars in the stores jars in the store are going up in price like everything else, so last year I started searching the internet to see if I could make my own and can them up for my pantry.
I found a recipe and article written by Rachel Archer on the process for making maraschino cherries! Well, I am now out and just in the knick of time as the cherries from the north are just starting to arrive in the stores here in Florida.
The process takes a bit of time, mostly waiting.. but it is well worth it and they taste so good. Ready! Here goes:
Recipe from Rachael Archer
2 quarts water – I used bottled water
1 TB pickling salt – This is for your brine. DO NOT use table salt. Make sure you purchase pickling salt
4 1/2 pounds sweet cherries, pitted
4 1/2 pounds sugar
3 cups water – I used bottled water
Juice of 1 lemon
1 ounce red food coloring
1 ounce pure almond extract
Bring your pickling salt and the 2 quarts of water to a boil. Stir until the salt is dissolved. Let cool for 10 to 12 minutes, then pour over your pitted cherries. I used my gallon size glass jar. Cover and let sit overnight at room temperature. This is the pickling process.
The next day, drain the cherries and throw away the brine. Rinse the cherries thoroughly with fresh cold water. Set aside for the time being. In a medium-size saucepan, combine the 3 cups of water, sugar, lemon juice and the red food coloring. Bring just to boiling point, stirring constantly to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and pour over the cherries. Cover with a lid and let marinate for 24 hours.
After marinating, you will need to drain the cherries, reserving the juice this time. Set cherries aside. Bring the juice to a boil again. Remove from heat and pour in the pure almond extract, stirring to incorporate. Now pour the juice over the cherries. Now you can use then after they cool or you can can them up.
If you choose to can the cherries, ladle hot cherries and juice into hot jars leaving 1/2 inch headspace. remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints for 15 minutes, quarts 20 minutes, in a boiling-water bath. If you use the smaller 1/4 quarter pint jars, process same as pint jars.
After processing, remove from canner, let cool in draft free area for 24 hours, then you can wash jars, remove rings, label and place in pantry. Now you have cherries for your ice cream, chocolate covered cherries….
Note: I do not have a cherry pitter , so I pit the cherries by using a soda bottle and straw. The cherry fits on mouth of soda bottle without falling in and then I punch the straw thru the side and the pit goes right down into the bottle! You can also just slice them in half and pull out the pit.
Also, don’t wear your favorite white blouse while pitting the cherries, mine is now polka-dotted with cherry juice. If you do not mind red stained fingers you can omit wearing disposable gloves! I did remember to wear the gloves.
Yield : 6 1/4 pint jars