Though fresh, sweet cherries are typically eaten raw, cooking them softens them and mellows their flavor. Cooking sour cherries with sugar sweetens them. One of the most common uses for cooked cherries is as a cherry pie filling or a cherry topping for ice cream or cake. You can eat this cherry pie filling as a topping right away, make a pie from it right away or you can preserve it by canning it using the pressure canning method. This recipe makes 1 qt., enough for an 8-inch pie.
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Rinse the cherries. Pit them by cutting them in half and using the point of a paring knife to pop the pit out.
Combine sugar, canning starch and cinnamon in the large saucepan. Stir. Add the water and almond extract.
Cook over medium high heat until the mixture begins to bubble. The liquid should also be thickening at this point.
Add 1 tbsp. lemon juice. Boil the mixture for one minute. Stir constantly to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan and burning.
Remove the saucepan from the burner. Fold in the cherries immediately. The residual heat will cook the cherries slightly. Use this pie filling immediately, refrigerate it for use in a day or two, or can it using a pressure canner.