Cherry Butter

adapted by There's Always Thyme to Cook
yield: more or less about 2 pints

2 lbs cherries (I used 4 12-ounce bags of frozen dark, pitted cherries)
1 1/2 cups sugar
big squeeze of fresh lemon juice, about 1 tablespoon
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 vanilla bean, split

Put the cherries in a large dutch oven on medium-high heat and cook, covered for about an hour. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir, cover, but prop open the lid so the steam can escape. Bring back to a boil; reduce heat to medium, and stir the pot every 30 minutes. After another hour, pour the cherry mixture through a food mill and then return it to the pot. Heat on medium-low for a few more hours until the cherries have reduced and become very thick, stirring every 30 minutes or so. If it starts to stick, lower the heat a little more and keep stirring. Keep the lid on but not tight, so that the steam can escape. When it's reduced and very thick, take it off heat. Pour into sterilized jars and store in the refrigerator. Mine got very thick when it completely cooled in the frig. Don't overcook!

Note: You can also simmer it in the oven at 350°F for a few hours, stirring occasionally, remove when it from the oven when gets really thick and pour into sterilized jars, then refrigerate.
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