I’ve always been a bit leery of those neon horrors they call Maraschino Cherries, so I decided to try making my own version using bing cherries.
1 pound bing cherries, whole with pits and stems
1 cup simple syrup (below)
1/4 kosher salt
1 cup brandy
Make a simple syrup by combining 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a medium saucepan, combine 2 quarts water and 1/4 kosher salt. Bring to a boil and stir until all the salt has dissolved. Add the cherries and blanch for 3 to 5 minutes, until the water turns red and the cherries start to float to the top.
Drain the cherries into a colander and rinse with cold water.
Put the cherries in a quart jar, cover with the simple syrup, then add enough brandy to fill the jar to the rim (usually just a little less than a cup).
Seal the jar, invert it a couple of times to combine the goodies, and let sit in the sink until cool (you do not want this breaking open in the fridge). When cool, stash in the fridge for at least a week, inverting the jar once a day.
Cherries that taste like cherries – what a revelation! The sugar made them sweeter, and the brandy adds a little kick, but they still taste more like cherries than their glow-in-the dark counterparts do. They make a fine addition to cocktails and would be tasty as a dessert topping too.
At one week old, they were a little harsh and not as sweet as I would like. I’ll give them another couple of weeks to mature and check them again.