Sort and wash cherries. If desired, stem and pit cherries. In a large nonmetal bowl combine cherries and vinegar. Cover the bowl and let stand at room temperature for 8 to 12 hours.
Drain the vinegar from the cherries into a medium stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick saucepan. Add sugar, the water, vanilla bean, and stick cinnamon. Bring to boiling, stirring until sugar dissolves; reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool.
Stir the kirsch (if using) and almond extract into the cooled vinegar mixture. Pour over cherries. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 3 days.
Drain the liquid into a medium stainless-steel, enamel, or nonstick saucepan, discarding vanilla bean pieces and cinnamon stick. Bring to boiling. Remove from heat. Strain liquid; let cool.
Meanwhile, pack the cherries into sterilized half-pint jars. Pour liquid over cherries in jars, filling the jars to the brims. Seal with nonreactive lids. Refrigerate for at least 1 month before serving.