My quince tree did better this year than last year, yielding enough quinces for about one-and-a-half batches of jam. I picked an equal amount of quinces from a nearby bush whose owners always let all the fruit fall to the ground and rot, so ended up with enough for three kinds of jam.
I've used fruit from flowering quince bushes (Chaenomeles lindl) before, but not in conjunction with fruit from my tree (Cydonia oblonga), and I had never realized how different they are. The bush quinces are small, shiny, and sticky compared to my big fuzzy tree quinces. The insides were different too: the bush quinces were crispy and translucent, and didn't brown in the air, while my tree quinces were much harder, opaque, and somehow mealy, and quickly oxidized.
I made three jams: from left to right, Honey-Quince, Quince and Orange with Cardamom (both from Mes Confitures), and Vanilla Quince, a jam of my invention. The Honey-Quince is made of bush quinces, the Vanilla Quince of tree quinces, and the Quince-Orange of a mixture. The bush quinces seem to get darker with cooking, don't they?
Vanilla Quince Jam
makes 6-7 half-pints
1.5kg quinces, about 900g when peeled and cored, cut into thin slices
300ml quince juice
juice of 2 lemons
2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise
To make the quince juice, put all the of quince trimmings in a pan, cover with water, bring to the boil, and let simmer uncovered for about an hour. Strain through a cheesecloth. This always gives me right about the right amount of juice I need for my jam, but if you don't get enough you can supplement it with water or apple juice.
Put the quinces, quince and lemon juice, and sugar into a big jam pan, bring to the boil and let simmer till quinces are tender. Add the vanilla beans, take off the heat, cover, and let rest overnight. When you're ready to can it, bring to the boil and boil hard till it's 221&F: be careful, as this will probably take less than five minutes. Pluck out the vanilla beans and cut two of the halves into thirds. Pour the jam into your prepared canning jars, add a piece of vanilla bean to each jar, seal, and boiling water bathe for five minutes. Dry off your remaining vanilla beans and stick them in a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar.