How Long Do Maraschino Cherries Last?

Maraschino cherries on a bowl with sweet syrup.

Maraschino cherries are artificially colored fruits that are available in cans. Their shelf-life is different from that of natural cherries. The majority of maraschino cherries sold in stores are actually Queen Anne cherries that have been steeped in a salt brine, sweetened, and then colored artificially.

So, how long do maraschino cherries last? We’ve discussed this and more below.

How are Maraschino Cherries Made?

The maraschino cherries of today are tasty cherries that have been artificially dyed a vivid crimson color. When they were first created, however, a dark and sour variety known as Marasca cherries was used.

Sea water was used to brine the Marasca cherries, which were then preserved in a maraschino liqueur. They were regarded as a delicacy, reserved for fine dining establishments and hotel restaurants.

Luxardo Maraschino Marasca cherries and liqueur were originally manufactured in 1905, and they are being produced in Italy today. They’re also free of preservatives, thickeners, and artificial colors. They’re available at a few wine and spirits shops, but they’re hard to come by.

Dr. E. H. Wiegand of Oregon State University improved the procedure of preserving cherries in 1919. He started using a brine solution comprised of water and a high concentration of salt instead of alcohol.

Due to the scarcity of Marasca cherries, other countries began producing imitations known as maraschino cherries. The bulk of commercial maraschino cherries start out as normal cherries these days. Lighter-colored cherry, such as Gold, Rainier, or Royal Ann, are most commonly utilized.

First, the cherries are steeped in a brine solution containing calcium chloride and sulfur dioxide. The cherries are bleached, which removes their natural red hue and flavor. For four to six weeks, the cherries are immersed in a brine solution.

They’re bleached and then steeped in a different solution for about a month. This solution contains red food coloring, sugar, and bitter almond oil (or an oil with a flavor comparable to bitter almond oil). The ultimate result is vivid red cherries that are quite tasty.

They are pitted, and their stems are removed at this point. After that, they’re dipped in a sugar-sweetened liquid with preservatives.

How Long Will Maraschino Cherries Stay Good?

Maraschino cherries may be stored for up to two years if unopened, and for around a year if opened. The life of maraschino cherries is determined by a number of factors, including the best by date, preparation process, and storage method.

At room temperature, maraschino cherry will keep their finest quality for around one to two months if preserved carefully. If refrigerated, they will last around 6 to 12 months.

Can You Use Maraschino Cherries after the Expiration Date?

Yes, as long as they’ve been stored properly, the package hasn’t been tampered with, and there aren’t any signs of spoilage. Maraschino cherries usually have a “Best By,” “Best if Used By,” “Best Before,” or “Best When Used By” date on them, but this isn’t a safety date. It’s the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the cherries will stay at peak quality.

How to Determine if Maraschino Cherries Have Spoiled?

Observing the cherries is the greatest way to determine whether they are good to use or not. First and foremost, examine the can’s lid. If the lid looks rounded, it signifies the cherries have spoiled because the lid has bulged due to gas creation in the can by various gas-producing bacteria.

The round lid could also indicate that the can was not securely sealed during manufacturing or that there was an issue during packaging or shipment. If you open the lid and no sound comes out, it signifies the seal has broken, signaling that the cherries have spoiled.

Another method is to look for any discoloration on the cherry’s surface. Mold can grow in most cases if it is exposed to aerobic conditions. So keep an eye out for a brown or blackish growth patch.

Your maraschino cherries have gone rotten if you see any kind of growth or even a change in color. If you notice any of the aforementioned signs, toss the cherries out since they will induce food poisoning, which will manifest as an upset stomach and diarrhea.

How to Preserve Maraschino Cherries the Right Way?

The ideal way to store maraschino cherry is to refrigerate it since low temperatures inhibit the spores found in the can from reproducing, preventing spoiling. Because of the rotting bacteria growth caused by air exposure, they will only last a week once opened and kept in the refrigerator.

You can keep the opened can of maraschino cherries unopened if the temperature is less than 75°F and there is no direct sunlight. They won’t last long once they’ve been opened, so put them in an airtight jar and keep them in the fridge.

Final Thoughts

Maraschino cherries are a great alternative to sweet and sour cherries. They are artificially preserved, which means that they can be used at any time of the year. While they may not offer the same nutritional benefits, maraschino cherries taste just as good.

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