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This jam tastes like cherry pie and is wonderful on biscuits or toast. I didn't use the Kirsch because I didn't have any, but I will try adding it next time.** It is a pain to pit the cherries, so do yourself a favor and buy a cherry/olive pitter. I bought one made by Oxo for around $12.00 and it was worth every penny. I used my food processor to chop the cherries but be sure not to liquify the cherries - just divide them into batches of three and pulse a few times to coarsely chop. You can use any type of sweet cherry such as Bing or Rainier. **I did make a batch using the Kirsch, however, I don't care for it all. It completely overpowers the flavors so, personally, I don't recommend using the Kirsch.
- Prepare jars and lids according to the USDA guidelines for preserving foods.
- In a large stainless steel or enameled pot combine the chopped cherries, lemon juice, butter and liqueur if using.
- Heat over high heat and add powdered pectin and stir until blended.
- Bring to a full boil, stirring constantly.
- Add sugar all at once and return to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.
- Boil for 1 minute and remove from heat.
- Add the almond extract mixing well.
- Skim off any foam and let sit for 5 minutes, stirring every minute.
- Ladle into hot jars, leaving about 1/4" headspace.
- Wipe rims with a damp cloth.
- Fit lids on jars and screw the bands on to finger tight being careful not to over-tighten.
- Place jars on rack in water bath canner making sure there is 1-2 inches of water over the tops of the jars.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- Boil for 10 minutes then turn off fire and remove lid.
- Let sit for 5 minutes in water then remove and place upright on a thick kitchen towel to cool.
- Check to make sure lids have sealed and store in cool dry area for up to one year.