- For many years brined cherry stocks for eastern maraschino cherry processors were almost entirely imported from Italy and France. Only small quantities were barreled on the Pacific Coast for local use. Today that situation is almost entirely reversed. With the aid of a protective tariff on brined and processed cherries coming from Europe and with the more mechanical assistance of a standardized procedure of brining developed by Bullis and Wiegand (1931), the tonnage going into barrels in the western states has increased from 1,925 tons in 1925 to a high of 15,491 tons in 1936. This is almost a ten-fold increase in as many years.
The cherries barreled are almost entirely of the sweet varieties. The essentials of the brining process as used on the coast consist of filling standard 50-gallon. paraffin-lined, fir barrels with from 240 to 250 pounds of fresh cherries; covering these cherries with a solution known as brine ; and with some agitation allowing the barrels to stand for four to six weeks or until the cherries are cured. The brine used is designed to both bleach and firm the cherries. It consists of a very dilute solution of sulphur dioxide and calcium carbonate or calcium hydroxide. The percentages recommended are 1.5 per cent sulphur dioxide and .9 per cent calcium carbonate or calcium hydroxide. In many localities the percentage is reduced below this figure with equally good results.
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