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Shopping – simple rule:
When you buy products low-processed without additions, you avoid eating such substances as glucose-fructose syrup, artificial flavours, carrageenan, stabilizers, thickeners, palm oil, preservatives.
Glaced Cherries – While shop-bought glacé cherries certainly look nice, any claim to actually being a “cherry” is nominal. Processing the fruit starts with it being soaked in a preservative solution (containing E211 – Sodium benzoate and E220 – Sulphur dioxide), which safely stores them until they are needed for glacéing. A year’s supply must be stored for production throughout the year and cherries can remain in brine for as long as 18 months. The glacéing process begins by exposing the cherries to either extreme heat or freezing cold, before being placed in a glucose-fructose syrup. This breaks down the cellulose fibres so the cherries will take in sugar. The cherries are then stemmed and stoned using a variety of specialised pieces of machinery with sharp spikes, cherry-sized holes and conveyor belts. Each day the tanks holding the cherries are pushed along to the next station where the sugar and glucose solution is increasingly concentrated. The cherry’s colour and flavour suffer during the process and so are supplemented with the addition of a red dye (E129 – Allura Red AC), and both artificial and natural flavourings.
Home-made Glaced Cherries
- 500g fresh cherries (rinsed, stemmed, and pitted)
- 2 cups caster sugar
- ½ cup water
- ½ lemon
- 1 cup apple juice
- In a large saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Add the cherries and the lemon. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer until the syrup is red and slightly thick, approximately 20 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand at least 2 to 3 hours or overnight.
- Strain the cherries, reserving the syrup. Set them aside.
- Discard the lemon and add the apple juice to the syrup. Over medium-high heat, bring the syrup to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Return the cherries to the syrup and reduce the heat to low and cook slowly until the syrup is thick, about 105°C on a candy thermometer.
- The cherries can be stored for at least six months in the refrigerator.