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September 28, 2005

Where Maraschino cherries come from

Maraschino Cherry: Many different types of cherries can be used to make this delectable cocktail garnish, however I've been told that Royal Ann is one of the most sought-after varieties.

The first step in this rather involved process is to preserve the cherries by soaking them in a brine mixture that consists of water, sulfer dioxide (as a preservative), and calcium chloride (to enhance firmness). This process will also result in drawing out most of the color and sugar from the cherries. The cherries will remain in this mixture for about five weeks.

In the next step, the yellowish-white cherries are soaked for about five days in a heated liquid sugar mixture to re-introduce just the right amount of sweetness. After that is achieved, artificial coloring is added, as well as artificial flavor. (Via Cynical-C)

One of my mom's best friends worked in a Maraschino cherry plant in British Columbia. The bleached cherries were shipped from Europe in their brine. Arguably the worst job in the factory was skimming off the drowned rats on arrival. The rats had to come out before the sugar reinfusion could begin.

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Comments

I thought I tasted just a hint of rat in that last cherry - Norway Brown, if I'm not mistaken. I prefer the Black Rat cherries myself.

Artisanal Maraschinos are all the rage in New York City.

For cocktails, I prefer my Maraschinos with a hint of Sprague-Dawley Outbred.

For parfaits and sundaes, I like a smooth well-balanced Wistar-Kyoto cherry.

And for fruitcakes, you really need Zucker cherries--these cherries are so rich and unctuous that you practically don't need to add suet.

Now you've done it Lindsay...

People will read your comment about the rats and demand candied rat garnishes in their cocktails!

Oh, I so did not need to know that. :)

OH NO! Now I can only give my super-duper brandy-soaked chocolate-covered marachino cherries to people I don't like! And I won't be able to tell the people I DO like WHY!

AIEEEEE!!!

I always thought of those things as coming from a vat at Dow Chemical Co.

While we're on the subject of food, anybody know why one should never even think of eating Beef Jerky?

You are what you eat.

For a long time, I thought maraschino cherries were of Scottish origin, because they are consistent with Scottish food rules;

1) Start with perfectly good ingredient(s), and come up with something both inedible and visually offensive.

2) Consumption of item must encourage the notion that all Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.

Well of course! Artificially sweetened rat just would not do, ruins the meat.

If I am what I eat -

I'm cheap, fast and easy.

Heh. If I are what I eat, I'm toooo much.

'Bout that rat... "Said the waiter,'Don't shout/ And wave it about/ Or the rest will be wanting one too!' "

I thought there was some element of almond flavoring in there somewhere, close enough to affect people with nut allergies. No?

Cherries and almonds are related. They're both drupes (stone fruits), only we eat the fruit part of the cherry and the inside of the stone part of the almond.

EUUUWWW! Lindsay, did you really have to tell us that>

Yes, yes. But do you say ma-ra-SKEE-no or mair-a-SHEE-no? I know, that battle was lost long ago. I'm still holding out on bru-SKET-ta for a while, though.

thank you... this means my days of drinking tequila sunrise are done for.

i never really liked the cherries anyway... at least thats what im going to tell myself

Maraschino syrup makes a wonderful Italian soda. (I habitually order the weirdest food on the menu, and am often pleasantly surprised. Often, I go hungry.)

What they said. Megasquick.

What's wrong with beef jerky?

For a long time, I thought maraschino cherries were of Scottish origin, because they are consistent with Scottish food rules;

1) Start with perfectly good ingredient(s), and come up with something both inedible and visually offensive.
2) Consumption of item must encourage the notion that all Scottish cuisine is based on a dare.


Sorry, but I must correct you.

To understand Scottish food (haggis, scotch eggs, etc.), or Scottish sports (golf, caber toss, sheaf toss, etc.), or Scottish culture (kilts, bagpipes, dancing over crossed swords, etc.) you must realise that among the many things that the Scots inverted, the whisky was the first.

Try this experiment at home: Drink a bottle of Balvenie, now notice how all the things mentioned above will seem quite a bit more sensible now.

Whisky is the answer, but I am not sure what the question was supposed to be.

Cheers,

Naked Ape

Maraschino cherries were invented right here in my home town of Corvallis, Oregon, at Oregon State University.

On the plus side, Linus Pauling taught here, too.

The Mrs., who showed me this post (coming down the stairs laughing her head off), observes also that she recently saw a reference to "artificial maraschino cherry flavor", and wonders how something so patently artificial can have an artificial version.

Maybe they leave out the rats.

Maraschino cherries predate the work done at Oregon State. What the Food Tech Department at OSU did was to invent the modern commercial maraschino by developing a process where all color and flavor are initially removed prior to redying and flavoring. This allows any type of cherry (including the darker Bings) to be used. They actually used the process on plumbs to create “Texas Maraschinos”, but they were a commercial flop.

Linus Pauling grew up in Portland and received his undergraduate degree at OSU, which is now the repository for his papers and memorabilia (including both Noble prizes). In the eighties I attended an ACS (American Chemical Society) dinner in Corvallis at which Linus spoke. There was consternation when the band for a frat house dance in the next room (separated from us by only a soft wall) started warming up during Linus’ talk. When the people in charge spoke to the frat rats, it turned out they were Linus’ old fraternity. They held up the dance for half an hour till Linus was done, and Linus repaid them by going over and having a few beers with them.

They actually used the process on plumbs to create “Texas Maraschinos”, but they were a commercial flop.

Are you sure the problem with those wasn't lead poisoning?

Do a google of "U.S. FDA's Food Action Defect Levels handbook" (I tried to provide the link, but somehow i got pegged as "comment spam") which itemizes levels of unavoidable defects in foods, "defects" being "objectionable matter contributed by insects, rodents and birds (insect fragments, heads, legs, feces, mold); decomposed material; miscellaneous matter such as sand, soil, glass, rust, or other foreign substances, [e.g.] objectionable matter such as sticks, stones, burlap bagging, cigarette butts, etc.."

Please note that, for instance, fewer than 75 bug heads in your two cups of flour is considered "insect-free."

Enjoy.

the link is (and here I try to fake out the spam filter):

www{dot}cfsan{dot}fda{dot}gov{slash}~dms{slash}dalbook{dot}html#CHPTA

and now i would like to note for the record that it was replacing the "." in "fda{dot}gov" with "{dot}" that allowed the above comment to be permitted. Hmm.

John M Burt is right. All the OSU Food Tech Dept. did was come up with a bleaching and 'blanding' process. How do I know this? My grandfather was the man who invented the bleaching process for maraschinos. The campus took credit for it and he didn't see a single penny from them. :(

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