Fruit cakes contain many kinds of dried fruits and nuts, forming a festive look suitable for the holiday season.
While you can tell what some of these fruits are by their taste, others may remain a mystery. So, what are the green things in fruit cake anyways?
Typically, those green bits inside a fruit cake are cherries diced into little pieces. Whether Maraschino or candied glace, these colorful pieces always add great flavors.
Keep scrolling to learn the difference between the two types of green cherries and how they make them.
If you’re familiar with ice cream sundaes, you probably know that the cherry on top isn’t fresh. Instead, it’s a Maraschino cherry.
Maraschino cherries are originally a sour type of cherries that comes from the Adriatic region. Traditionally, people used to cure and preserve these cherries with liquor to serve as a treat.
Nowadays, they cure and preserve Maraschino cherries inside brine as a substitute. Moreover, many other types of cherries are used for this process, including Rainier and Royal Ann.
What makes Maraschino cherries unique is their bright red and green colors.
After soaking in brine to firm up, Maraschino cherries are then rinsed and pitted. After that, manufacturers color, flavor, and sweeten the cherries with corn syrup.
Maraschino cherries come in red and green, each with a distinct flavor. They use almond extract to give red Maraschino cherries their classic taste.
As for the green variety, it often comes in a peppermint flavor. Yet, some brands come in almond flavors as well.
Overall, Maraschino cherries are usually pasteurized to maintain a shelf life of three to five years.
While candied glace cherries also come in green and red, the process of making them differs from Maraschino cherries.
Candied cherries are actually cooked in sugar syrup rather than cured. This gives them the intense sweetness and distinct texture that other candied fruits have.
Whether Maraschino or candied cherries, both types get dyed using natural food coloring.
Although both types are made using different methods, they have one thing in common: added sugar.
Sadly, both varieties are high in added sugar, which makes them an unhealthy option. That’s why experts advise using them in moderation.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Maraschino cherries contain over three times the amount of sugar that fresh cherries have.
Moreover, some candied cherries brands even contain double the amount of sugar found in Maraschino cherries.
Yes, you can make Maraschino cherries at home as a more nutritious alternative. This way, you get to control the sugar levels inside and avoid using dye if you prefer.
All you need to do is soak fresh cherries in flavored sugar syrup for a few weeks.
Fruit cake is a delicious dessert that becomes more popular around the holiday season. It’s easy to make with an option to add any kind of fruits and nuts you like.
Sometimes it’s tough to tell what the colorful bits in a store-bought fruit cake are, especially the green ones.
Traditionally, the green things in fruit cake are pieces of Maraschino cherries or candied glace cherries. Whether red or green, they come in jars preserved inside a sugar syrup.
That’s why you might want to be careful using such a product if you try to eat healthier.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.