In small bowl, combine cherries and warm water to cover. Let soak 30 minutes.
Drain cherries and transfer to blender along with maple syrup and 1 1/2 cups apple juice. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring often, for 5 minutes.
In cup, dissolve kudzu in remaining 1/4 cup apple juice. Whisk into cherry mixture along with lemon peel. Cook, whisking often, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes (mixture will thicken further as it cools). Cool completely before using.