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‘Sugar-Free’ Maraschino Cherries

'Sugar-Free' Maraschino Cherries
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Developing a ‘Sugar-Free’ Maraschino Cherries recipe is an absolute necessity. Why? Because the maraschino cherry is one truly the most iconic of all cocktail garnishes, and also a pivotal ingredient in Christmas cake. Admittedly, if you like Christmas cake, that is – as you either do or don’t with that kind of thing, without much in between.

But those bright red maraschino cherries are full of chemicals and sugar, so even one would bump up your total carbs for the day. I like to savour each net carb I take in, so squandering my carbs on a sugary chemical-laden cherry cannot be borne. This recipe, will give you  ‘Sugar-Free’ Maraschino Cherries that will come out full of flavour but will be darker in colour than the raw cherry. Trust me, they are delicious.

Later this year, I’ll follow up with another recipe with less alcohol, and a bleaching process for the cherries to mimic the bright red cherries we know more commonly. Also seen in the beloved, love it or hate it, Christmas cake. Back to this recipe though.

First, when making this, unless you live close to Croatia, the cherry you’ll use, is not the right cherry. That’s because both the Liqueur and the maraschino cherry are made from sour Marasca cherries. And that variety only grows in the sandy soil of Croatia.

Apparently, a trial was even attempted to grow Marascas Cherries in North America. However, the flavour wasn’t the same, so the whole notion was abandoned.

It’s pretty easy to make your own maraschinos from fresh cherries. There are lots of recipes out there, but I adapted mine from my favourite recipe by Amy Wisniewski on chowhound.com. Her recipe best mimics the maraschino process. That’s because it’s the pits that give both the maraschino cherry and Liqueur its characteristic nutty background flavor, which is often mistaken for almonds.

In my recipe, I adapted the sugar (obviously) and the alcohol mix. Also, merely making the brine with Liqueur would be far too much sugar. So, I used a combination of over-proof white rum and Luxardo. I did this because white over-proof white rum tends to have some fruit notes that add to the flavour profile.

You could use over-proof vodka or Everclear (if you are in the U.S.). However, the Wray and Nephew over-proof white rum is easier to get in Canada (necessity is the mother of invention). Plus, it turned out the combination of the two worked out great in the finished product.

I selected Allulose as my sweetener of choice. Erythritol, which I also love as a sweetener, would crystallize when stored in the fridge. However, I prefer to keep this in the fridge.

The end result is a boozy cherry flavour that is really quite divine. You do need to give it a couple of weeks for the cherries to really capture the taste of the brine. Still, I have been known to dip in beforehand—that said, their flavour is boozier when you do that.

Making the ‘Sugar-Free’ Maraschino Cherries recipe is relatively simple. However, you do need a cherry pitter to save your sanity. I have a hand one and was able to do a fairly big batch within fifteen minutes. After pitting a few, you get the hang of it.

When pitting for cocktail garnishes, you want to save the stem. So, you need to place the cherry in the pitter on its side, or to the side of the stem, so the pitting process doesn’t remove it. If you are making these for baking purposes, it doesn’t really matter.

Then there is the fun part of smashing the cherry pits. Also easy, and a great way to get out the frustrations of the day.

The rest of the recipe is fairly straight forward from there. You should have your jars in the fridge steeping within an hour, including the ½ hour it takes for the syrup to cool. Let me know how yours turns out.

Looking for a scrumptious cocktail to make, not that you have your garnish? Try my Keto ‘Fat Bomb’ in a cocktail Piña Colada. It is a guaranteed crowd pleaser!

I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

'Sugar-Free' Maraschino Cherries
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The maraschino cherry is truly one of the most iconic of all cocktail garnishes. Adapted from https://www.chowhound.com/recipes/maraschino-cherries-28431
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration Time: 14 days
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: low-carb
Servings: 56
Calories: 14.5kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Whole Fresh Cherries
  • 1 cup Allulose
  • 3/4 Vanilla Bean split and scraped, saving pod and seeds
  • 1/4 cup Water + 1 tbsp
  • 2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 2/3 cup Overproof White Rum (e.g Wray & Nephew)

Instructions

  • Pit cherries. In order to make sure pit has come out, brush pits to the side to ensure pit has actually fallen out. Reserve pits.
  • Leave stems on if used as a garnish. To leave stems on pit cherry from the side rather than from top.
  • Place pits in a ziploc bag
  • Place a tea towel over bagged pits and smash pits with a mallet.
  • Place vanilla pod and seeds, allulose, water and cherry pits into a sauce pan on MEDIUM heat and bring to boil.
  • Once boiled, remove from heat allowing syrup mixture to cool to room temperature (approximately ½ hour).
  • Strain syrup using a fine mesh strainer to ensure all pit is removed from the syrup.
  • Add the Luxardo maraschino liqueur.
  • Place the pitted cherries in a 1 quart container.
  • Pour the syrup over the cherries, cover tightly and store in a refrigerator for 2 weeks to fully develop. Shake the container daily, or even better, twice a day.

Nutrition

Calories: 14.5kcal | Carbohydrates: 4.5g | Protein: 0.1g | Fat: 0.1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 0.1mg | Potassium: 18mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 4.2g | Vitamin A: 5.2µg | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 1.1mg | Iron: 0.1mg | Net Carbs: 1g | Allulose: 2.9g

Notes

  • Use a garnish for cocktails, baking, or in fruit cakes.
  • Wear an apron – pitting cherries is very messy!
  • These are not canned – if you would like to can these, you must sterilize the jars and use a water bath to seal them using your preferred food safe canning process, adjusting for you altitude.

Disclaimer

Nutritional Information and portions are estimated from the USDA Food Database. Net carbs exclude fiber, sugar alcohols, and products like allulose, because they do not generally affect blood sugar. I try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.

Tried this recipe?Mention @LaFemmeNikketo or tag #lafemmenikketo!

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ABOUT NIKKEY

Nikkey Elizabeth | La Femme Nikketo

Welcome! I'm Nikkey Elizabeth.

Two years ago, for health reasons, I was determined to make a Low Carb, High Fat, Keto diet work for me as a lifestyle, without the exercise in deprivation with constant calls to the fun police. Hi! My name is Nikkey Elizabeth and this is totally me, in my happy place doing one of my favourite things: hiking in the Cape Breton Highlands…
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