Contrary to popular belief, Maraschino cherries aren’t a specific type of cherry; instead, they are sweet cherries that have been preserved. The types of cherries typically used are Royal Ann, Gold, and/or Rainier cherries. Maraschinos are typically preserved in a brine solution that bleaches the cherry, which is later artificially colored. This makes sense when you think about the color of Rainier cherries, which are usually a light red/yellow; hence, they are dyed red when turned into maraschino cherries. In the past, 70-proof Maraschino cordial was used as the preservative. This cordial came from the juice of the Italian marasca wild cherry.
Maraschino cherries are the types of cherries you will find in cocktails most of the time. Often, people top sundaes, milkshakes, and other desserts with a single maraschino cherry. These cherries are also frequently used in fruit cocktail mixes. Nowadays, they are most recognized as a way to decorate/garnish a dessert or other meal, such as a baked ham. Maraschino cherries are not like Rainier cherries, which can easily be eaten raw. Due to the preservatives now used, Maraschinos have become jam-packed with sugar.
Don’t get me wrong: maraschino cherries are not all bad. They have similar health benefits as other types of cherries, but they also have serious downsides. One reason for these negative aspects is the amount of sugar put in them, which is why you shouldn’t sit and eat a bag full of maraschino cherries! This can be worrisome for sufferers of Diabetes and/or for those trying to lose weight. One way to reduce the amount of sugar in them is to make your own maraschino cherries. Here’s a recipe for homemade maraschino cherries.