I used to think that home-made preserves were for people who like sterilizing jars and have the patience to wait 6 months to taste something they've made. I am no such person. I need immediate gratification and am not very good at following complex procedures to the letter. So, you won't be surprised that it took me this long to finally make a preserve. What did I make? A quince preserve, and let me tell you -- I am hooked. Have you ever had membrillo -- the quince paste that is served with Manchego cheese in Spain? This is even better. I mean, it's better than the store bought membrillo (even though I love that stuff). Though I just found Elise's home-made membrillo recipe, which sounds very tempting.
But let's get back to the preserve. I am not sure if it technically qualifies as a "preserve," since I didn't preserve it. I simply cooked quince with sugar, put it in a jar, and let it sit in my fridge until we ate it all. That didn't take long (2 weeks at most). It tastes incredible with almost any cheese. My personal favorite is bucheron blanc (mild goat cheese from Loire). It's also delicious on toast for breakfast, with prosciutto, with yogurt, with ice-cream, and straight out of the jar.
If you have more will power than we do, and don't gobble up the entire jar in a few weeks, it can happily live in your fridge at least for a month (likely even longer) since the generous amount of sugar in this mixture acts as a preservative.
4 medium quince, cored, and cut into 1/3 inch dice (about 6 cups total)
2/3 cup sugar
Squirt of fresh lemon juice (if needed)
Put the quince and sugar in a heavy 2-qt saucepan and set over medium-heat. Bring to a simmer stirring occasionally. The quince will release its juices. They'll mix with the sugar and form a syrup. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. You'll notice the color change from golden to redish amber. Taste the preserve and add a squirt of lemon juice to brighten up the flavor if needed. Cool completely. Store in a clean (doesn't need to be sterilized) jar in the fridge.