This started out as a curious thought in the back of my head – I know garlic softens and sweetens the longer you cook it, so could I make garlic jam? I scribbled some notes based on what little I know about jam making, dug out an old onion marmalade recipe to use as a rough guide, and promptly forgot all about it.

Then last weekend, I acquired some beautiful purple garlic bulbs, and the garlic jam pondering resurfaced… I spent a pleasant Sunday evening peeling and slicing 40 cloves of garlic, and ended up with 2 jars of this sweet, punchy, unapologetic condiment – I’ll be serving mine on toast with freshly sliced ripe tomatoes, or with buttery sautéed mushrooms, or dolloped on the side of some roast chicken…

Makes 2 small jars:

350g garlic cloves

A little oil

300g sugar (I used caster)

70ml white wine vinegar

70ml white wine

6 thyme stalks, picked

Wash and rinse your jars and lids, and pop them on a baking sheet in a low oven, around 120C will do. Bake them for 10 minutes to sterilise them, then turn the oven off – without opening it – until you need the jars.

Peel and slice your garlic cloves and toss into a heavy-bottomed pan with the oil. Bring to a very low heat to soften for 10 minutes – don’t allow them to brown or burn. (if you find peeling the cloves hard work, chop the top and bottom off and drop them into a jug or bowl of boiling water. Allow to soak for half an hour – they should slip right out of their skins).

Pour over the vinegar, wine and half the sugar, and bring to the boil. Toss in the thyme leaves and reduce the heat back down to a simmer. Simmer for a further 15 minutes to soften, then mash with a masher to break up into small pieces.

Add the remaining sugar and stir well. Bring to the boil and boil vigorously for 5 minutes, stirring well to stop it sticking to the bottom. Add a splash more wine to loosen if necessary.

Remove from the heat and drop a teaspoon of the jam mixture onto a saucer. If it starts to set around the edges, it’s good to go.

Remove the jars from the oven – with a tea towel or cloth as they will be hot!

Pour the jam carefully into the warm jars, and balance the lid on top to cool. Once cooled, label and seal the lids, and store in the fridge or in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

And because I couldn’t resist getting stuck into mine straight away, here it is on toast with tomatoes, parsley and a smattering of salt – delicious!

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All text copyright Jack Monroe.

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