[Sca-cooks] maraschino cherries

Terry Decker t.d.decker at att.net
Sun Apr 5 07:56:55 PDT 2009

> I guess I should learn to do more quick Wikipedia searches.  But it  never 
> occurred to me that "maraschino" cherries would have *any*  chance of 
> being period. It is hard enough to document any specific  period cordials, 
> but here is one. As well as evidence for  preservation of at least one 
> fruit in period in distilled alcohol.

I ran about six different sources, two of them off my shelf, to get a feel 
for the maraschino cherry.  Wikipedia did provide the Zadar reference, but 
I haven't found any confirming sources so don't take it as gospel.  While 
there is reference to the cordial being developed in the 16th Century and 
that the cordial was used to preserve the cherries at a later date, I have 
seen no specific evidence that the cherries were preserved in this manner 
prior to 1600.  It is highly probable, but not proven.

> Was wine or other non-distilled alcohol used as a preservative in  period 
> as well?  I'm assuming it wouldn't be quite as good a  preservative as a 
> higher proof alcohol would be, though.

Wine is not a particularly good preservative as it can be attacked by 
bacteria.  Far better to use vinegar, which is of course, wine or other 
fermented beverage that has been inoculated with Acetobacter bacteria.  Wine 
can be used as a component of a preserving mixture as in jugging meat.

> Further reading of the Wikipedia article does indicate that the stuff  you 
> get in the grocery store, labeled as "maraschino" cherries has  little 
> resemblance to the real thing, being saturated in red food  coloring and 
> having almond flavoring added. I wonder if "real"  marachino cherries are 
> still available and at what price. Once I'm  employed again, perhaps I'm 
> going to have to get some so I can  compare these to what I thought were 
> marashino cherries.
> Stefan

The varieties of cherries used in making today's maraschino cherries are 
sweet where the marasca cherry is sour, so there is probably a world of 
difference.  As to getting a real maraschino cherry, Luxardo, probably the 
world's largest manufacturer of maraschino, packs marasca cherries in their 
own juice for sale at obscene mark ups.  I think it is probably the closest 
thing to an olod style maraschino cherry you can find.


> ============
> <<< But where is the documentation on the "maraschino cherry"?
> Stefan >>>
> Maraschino is a cordial made from the pits of marasca cherries. 
> Maraschino
> cherries are cherries that have been preserved in the cordial.  The 
> presence
> of the cordial was presumably first noted at the Zadar Dominican 
> monastery
> early in the 16th Century.  One of the uses for the cordial was 
> preserving
> marasca cherries.  Large scale commercial production of maraschino is an
> artifact of the 18th Century and commercial maraschino cherry production
> appears to be primarily 19th Century.  The modern maraschino cherry was
> "Americanized" in the early 20th Century.
> Bear
> --------
> THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
>    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas 
> StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
> **** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****
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