One of the few sweet commercial treats that I miss is maraschino cherries. I loved them in Shirley Temples, or chocolate covered cordial cherries. I was even known to eat them straight out of the jar.
The ingredients in the commercially available products are so horrific that I haven’t been tempted to try them in the past. But when looking for what to top my homemade vanilla ice cream with, I wondered if there was a way to make my own. I stumbled upon this recipe from Real Food Whole Health which uses real ingredients to make maraschino cherries and I was sold. I’ve modified the recipe a little to make it GAPS Legal on the full GAPS Diet by removing the sugar and swapping the kind of cherry juice I used. These cherries are also alcohol free, unlike many other recipes I found to make your own maraschino cherries.
The most labor intensive part of this recipe is in pitting the cherries. If you don’t have a cherry pitter, like I do not, try a straw or a chop stick to remove the pits. I found the easiest way to do it was to remove the stems, poke a hole in the top of the cherry, and then push the pit out the top hole from the bottom.
If you’re not making this recipe when cherries are in season, you can use frozen whole cherries with the pits removed.
Ingredients for GAPS Legal “Maraschino” Cherries
1 cup organic, unsweetened Black Cherry Juice, I used Lakewood Pure Black Cherry juice
1 cup filtered water
2 organic whole cinnamon sticks
3 Tbsp lemon juice
16 oz sweet red cherries, pitted
1 Tbsp pure almond extract
Directions for GAPS Legal “Maraschino” Cherries
In a sauce pan, combine cherry juice, water, cinnamon sticks and lemon juice. Bring to a low simmer.
Pit your cherries while the sauce is simmering.
Pour sauce over the cherries. Add in almond extract. This is the important piece because it gives them that distinct smell!
Let cool on the counter. Cover tightly and keep in the fridge.