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A Maraschino Cherry is a preserved, sweetened cherry, typically made from light-colored sweet cherries such as the Royal Ann, Rainier, or Gold varieties. The cherries are first preserved in a brine solution (usually sulfur dioxide) or alcohol, then soaked in a suspension of food colouring, sugar syrup, artificial and natural flavors, and other components. Maraschino Cherries dyed red are typically almond-flavoured, while cherries dyed green are usually peppermint-flavoured.

Further steps along this process make glace and crystallised cherries; after soaking, the cherries are drained and then soaked in glucose and air-dried, producing glace cherries; a further stage involves another soaking in glucose which coats them with sugar, creating crystallised cherries.

History
The name maraschino refers to the marasca cherry and the maraschino liqueur made from it, in which Maraschino Cherries were originally preserved. They were, at first, produced for and consumed as a delicacy by royalty and the wealthy. Today they are a common dessert and drink garnish.

In the U.S.
The cherries were first introduced in the United States in the late 19th century, where they were served in fine restaurants. By the turn of the century, American producers were experimenting with flavors such as the almond extract used today and substituting Queen Anne cherries for marasca cherries. In 1912, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration legally defined "Maraschino Cherries" as marasca cherries preserved in maraschino under the Food and Drugs Act of 1906; the artificially colored and sweetened Queen Ann variety had to be called "Imitation Maraschino Cherries" instead.

During Prohibition in the United States as of 1920, the decreasingly popular alcoholic variety was illegal as well. Ernest H. Wiegand, a professor of horticulture at Oregon State University, developed the modern method of manufacturing Maraschino Cherries using a brine solution rather than alcohol. Thus, most modern maraschino cherries have only a historical connection with the liqueur maraschino. It was not until after Prohibition was repealed in 1933 that the FDA revisited its policy towards canned cherries in 1939. Since 1940, "Maraschino Cherries" have been defined as "cherries which have been dyed red, impregnated with sugar and packed in a sugar sirup flavored with oil of bitter almonds or a similar flavor".

Maraschino cherries are an important ingredient in many cocktails. As a garnish, they often decorate baked ham, pastry, parfaits, ice cream sundaes, and ice cream sodas. They can also be found as an accompaniment to sweet paan.

REFERENCES: Maraschino cherry From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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