Homemade maraschino cherries like the ones you buy from the market.
You know those bright red cherries that look like Rudolph’s red nose and are sickly sweet? The ones full of high fructose corn syrup, red food coloring and preservatives. All the things I try to avoid.
I used to love those. When I was like 5. They were the first things I looked for when I went to my Grandma’s house. Back then they were probably made with real sugar. You’d be hard-pressed to find them being made with sugar today. A fact of life I find frustrating.
So what’s a girl to do but make her own.
They couldn’t be simpler with only four ingredients: water, honey, cherries and vanilla extract.
Honey, cherries and water simmer together to make the syrup then is strained to remove the mushy cherries. The sweetened cherry syrup and more fresh cherries (whole or pitted) are slowly simmered for 10 minutes to soften the cherries a bit and infuse some flavor into them. A dash of vanilla extract and you’re good to go.
These aren’t exactly like store-bought maraschinos. How could they be? They’re better. And different. They have impeccable flavor and are soft but still firm with the just the right amount of sweetness to not be cloying. And that cherry syrup? You’ll want to drink it as is or make cherry limeade or cherry iced tea with it.
These are best after sitting in the syrup for 24-48 hours and need to be eaten with a week or two unless you go through the process of canning them.