Sponsored by National Cherry Growers & Industries Foundation
There are many uses for USA-grown Maraschino Cherries. As a garnish, they add visual appeal to beverages, desserts, ice cream, salads and dishes of all shapes and sizes. As an ingredient, their bright color and flavor enhances the taste of many recipes, improving attractiveness and profitability.
Research shows kids love Maraschino cherries. When asked, “Which is better, one Maraschino or two?” Two was the hands-down winner. When given the opportunity to add their own Maraschinos to foods and drinks, the average number of Maraschinos per kid per item was 3.5. The more, the cherrier!
Maraschino cherries are fresh, sweet cherries that have been processed and packed in syrup. Generally, they are available in red and green but custom colors and flavors are available as well for any custom F&B development.
Maraschinos are available whole (with or without stems), as halves and crushed (triple diced through a 3/8 inch dicer or ground through a 1/4 inch screen). Sizes range from medium (18/20 mm) to Super Colossal (26mm and over). They are packed in glass jars with metal caps; plastic jars with plastic caps with a hermetically sealed inner liner; white plastic 5-gallon pails with gasket sealed lids; and 55-gallon steel drums lined with two poly bags. Shelf life varies, depending on packaging. Glass packs have a shelf life of three years, when pasteurized.
Maraschino cherries, with a Brix level of 38° to 42°, are a signature garnish and ingredient in drinks, baked goods, confectionery products, ice cream and other dairy products. Maraschinos are a tasty and beautiful candied treat, which your guests are sure to enjoy!
The sweet cherries that become Maraschinos come from several different varieties. Let’s take a closer look at the different cherry types that our Growers work so hard to bring to you:
Rainier cherries are yellow inside and out, with just a bit of red blush on them, and exceptionally large. They are quite sweet and very firm. The Rainier cherry was developed in 1952 at Washington State University by Harold Fogle, and named after Mount Rainier. It is a cross between the Bing and Van cultivars.
ROYAL ANN CHERRY
The Royal Ann or Royal Anne (also called Napoleon and Queen Anne), a long-time favorite yellow sweet cherry, is similar in appearance and taste to the Rainier cherry. It is both eaten fresh and used in making pies and Maraschino cherries.
The Van cherry is a very hardy, deep ruby red fruit and resembles Bing cherries, though usually smaller, firmer, blockier, and shorter-stemmed. The Van cherry tree is vigorous and a prolific bearer of high quality sweet cherries and produces magnificent cherry blossoms in spring.
Gold cherry trees are very good producers of fruit, which is very firm and golden yellow in color. The trees themselves are well adapted to mechanical harvesting.
Bing cherries are the leading commercial sweet cherry. They are firm, juicy, large, and a deep mahogany red when ripe. They have a distinctive heart shape. Bings are intensely sweet, with a vibrant flavor.
Lambert cherries are large and firm with an even dark red color throughout. They are sweet enough to eat out of hand, but keep a good texture when cooked. They have a nice long season that runs from mid-June to early August.
When it comes to cherries, there’s more than meets the eye. Here are some fun facts about cherries we bet you didn’t know:
- The United Stated leads the world in sweet cherry production. Sweet cherries are primarily grown in California, Oregon and Washington. Michigan is among the top four producers, harvesting about 20 percent of the crop each year.
- February is National Cherry Month. Consumers are eager to buy cherry products in February to help celebrate a variety of special days during the month, including President's Day, Valentine's Day and Paczki Day (Fat Tuesday).
- Most of the cherries harvested in California, Oregon and Washington are picked by hand to retain the stems for fresh sale. In Michigan, most of the cherries are machine harvested and without stems for use as ingredients.
- Most, if not all of our cherry growers are individuals and families who have been growing cherries in the US for generations.
Furthermore, there’s no fat, no sodium and only 10 calories in each Maraschino cherry! In other words, be the ultimate buyer and give your guests a fabulous garnish or topping they can’t resist.