How to Make Homemade Cocktail Cherries in Syrup
Cherries are a very popular fruit when sold fresh, but many only recognize them in their preserved form. This can be in jams, preserves or, one of its most versatile forms, in syrup. These are known as cocktail or maraschino cherries. They are very popular as a garnish in cocktails (hence the name), but are also used in desserts and baked goods. Not only does the process of making cocktail cherries preserve them for longer, the process sweetens them considerably. This is why they are so popular in sweet food and drink recipes.
At oneHOWTO, we show you how to make homemade cocktail cherries in syrup. You can make them to use for yourself, but they are also great to give as gifts for special occasions.
- Cooking pot
- Glass jars
- Cherry pitter or straw
The first step to making homemade cocktail cherries in syrup is to wash the fresh cherries well. This will remove any dirt, bacteria or pesticides which may be present. Our recipe will use 14 oz of cherries, but it will depend on how many you want to make. If you want to make more or less, simply amend the other ingredients accordingly.
Once we have washed them, the easiest way to remove the pits is with a cherry pitter. Most of you will not have one, so you can improvise by using a wide straw. Insert the straw into the top of cherry where the stem is and push down. If the straw is flimsy, it will break easily. Some people prefer to keep the cherry pits in, but this is not recommended.
Take the jar that you are going to use to store the cherries and remove the lid. Boil the jar and its lid in water for 5 minutes to sterilize it. Once the jar is sterilized and has cooled, put the cherries back in it
Now we are going to prepare the syrup. Take a saucepan and pour the liter of water and sugar into it, stir it so that it dissolves well and leave it over high heat. Once it starts to boil, turn off the heat and remove the saucepan. To make the process of preparing the syrup even clearer, here is an easy recipe on how to make syrup.
With the help of a spoon or saucepan, pour the syrup into the jar with your cherries. Leave 2 centimeters of the jar unfilled, take the lid and close it tightly.
Prepare a large pot with water, pouring enough for it to cover the jar plus a couple of inches. Put the jar inside the pot and turn up the heat until it starts to boil. Once it has started to boil, reduce the heat to medium-high and let it simmer for five minutes. After this time turn off the heat and remove the pot with some kitchen tongs. Let it cool and put a label on it with the name of what it contains (in this case cocktail cherries in syrup) and the date on which you prepared it.
An optional step for the more daring is to add a little alcohol to the cherries in syrup. The quickest and easiest way is to take the cherries (with or without the pit) and place them in the glass jar which you have previously sterilized. Same as the previous process, pour the syrup into the jar with the cocktail cherries, but stop 2 cm below where you would have using cherries alone. Now pour in the alcohol of your choice.
White run can work very well as it is suited to the syrup flavors. However, ideally you can use cherry brandy or a cherry liqueur to intensify the cherry flavor. After you have topped up the jaw, seal it as we have explained in the previous section.
How long do cocktail cherries in syrup last?
These homemade maraschino cherries will last a long time, up to 2 years with careful storage. After this time the cherries should still be OK to eat, but they will start deteriorating. We advise making multiple batches in the summer when the cherries are in season, then you can eat them all year round. You can keep a jar in the drinks cabinet for whisky cocktails or some in the kitchen if you want to decorate a pineapple upside down cake.
Finally, if you want to know some other great ways to preserve fruit for longer, take a look at our articles on how to make homemade raspberry jam and how to make guava in syrup.
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- We recommend that you label all the jars well with the packaging date. If you have preserved other fruit, indicate the content of each jar on the label as well. Once you open the jar, you should put it in the refrigerator and always check them before you est.If you see the lid of the jar pops back up or even becomes bloated, you should know this is because they are spoiled and they should be thrown away.
- Put the cherries in syrup in jars that are clean and dry and leave them in a cool dry place in the shade. If you constantly give them light, they can deteriorate.
- The cleanliness of the bottle will be a fundamental factor to avoid harmful microorganisms. If the jar is properly sanitized, it is the best way to ensure nothing will happen.