The Cottage Smallholder

stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Farmer’s marrow rum recipe

the marrow encased in muslin during the process

The marrow in muslin during the rum process

I have discovered that stored in a cool location, marrows keep for weeks. Our marrowhas waited to be turned into something delicious since mid September. It had gradually changed in colour from dark green to a paler green with small dashes of orange. It was time to give it the Cinderella treatment.

When Lindsey emailed me with a recipe for marrow rum that she had found in a 1954 cookbook. I could see a great future for our companion vegetable. Lindsey had tried to leave the recipe as a comment on the site and I discovered a few days later that my spam filter had gobbled up her comment. Apologies if this has ever happened to you.

So today this is Lindsey’s recipe with some other twists that I discovered on the excellent Selfsufficientish forum. There are quite a few recipes for marrow rum knocking about on the Internet. A few even use rum!

The forum discussion on marrow rum has some good pointers to making some great grog. mattachinelee has a similar recipe at the start but adds the sieved marrow flesh and cooled boiled water to the demijohn and leaves the grog in the airing cupboard for a year. I think that I am going to try his route with one change. When fermentation ceases I will rack off the grog into a clean demijohn. As I don’t like the idea of the grog sitting on the marrow ‘lees’ for a year.

Apparently marrow rum is amazingly potent stuff! Just the sort of grog that eases Cottager Smallholder inhabitants through a grey winter. I have seen marrows on sale recently. Why not give it a go?

Farmer’s marrow rum recipe
Recipe Type: Liqueur
Author: Fiona Nevile
  • 1 large ripe marrow with hard skin
  • 3-5 pounds of demerara sugar
  • Activated wine yeast (Lindsey suggests bread yeast would do at a pinch)
  • Juice of an orange
  1. Slice off stalk end of the marrow with a bread knife. Savng enough to use as a lid. Remove all pith and seeds.
  2. Pack the cavity with demerara sugar.
  3. Pour over previously activated yeast and the juice of an orange.
  4. Replace top of marrow, seal with sellotape.
  5. Hang marrow in a muslin bag, cut end uppermost in a warm place.
  6. After 3 wks marrow may show signs of leaking out. Either make a hole in bottom of marrow and run liquid into fermenting jar. fit airlock, let ferment out. You can if you wish add a few raisins to fermenting jar. syphon off and bottle.

Alternative methods

Lindsey suggests pack with yet more sugar, reseal and leave longer. This is from a recipe I found yesterday and as I want max juice…..!!


At this stage mattachinelee in the selfsufficientish forum takes a slightly different route. Pour the sugar mixture into the demi john. Scrape out the marrow flesh, sieve and adds this to the demi john through a funnel. Add more yeast and the juice of half an orange. Top up the demijohn to three quarters full with cooled boiled water to the demijohn. Fit an airlock and leave for a year in the airing cupboard. This will produce 5 pints of rum.

Lindsey points to a note from 1954 book: the longer you can keep this the better it will taste.

  Leave a reply


  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Lou

    I’d love to see the recipe for damson cheese.

  2. Damson Chutney is very nice and Damson Cheese a good recipie my Nan gave me is very nice if kept till Christmas with a good port and Stilton cheese

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hello Thad

    Growing a few herbs, tomatoes, blueberries and strawberries is a triumph. Especially in a city centre.

    Our life is good but very different. No Costa coffee, fashion and pizzazz. Not bonnets at dawn either. Just a gentle, rather isolated way of life that often veers towards the rut!

    On the other hand, the marrow rum was better and more effective than anything that I have ever tasted in my life!

  4. Your site (and this entry) makes me want to have a little cottage or farmhouse and become self sufficient … but alas, I only have a little flat and patio in the city centre, which only means that I can grow some herbs, a few tomatoes, and some fruit (blueberries and strawberries last year).

  5. Michael A. Butler

    Before I left England (1956) my Mother-in-law used to make marrow rum; she called it marrow wine. After filtering the liquid she used to give Christmas visitors a shot, I never saw anyone take two shots and still walk a straight line.

  6. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Amanda,

    You would be always welcome here! We do have a spare bed too.

    We only share our best grog with people that are staying overnight.

    Need I say more…

    Hi Celia,

    Strangely Inca didn’t secrete herself into the pillow case. She was there, during the whole operation, pointy nose desperate to examine my latest project. The Companion Vegetable was large!

    We would love to host a CS tasting event. Ideally an East Anglian Grog Fest. What we need is a sponsor to provide accommodation and a massive marquee. Open to any offers!

    Hi Jan,

    Great idea! Next year we™ll hang it on the front door!

  7. You should have put a ‘Scream’ mask on that and used it as a Hallowe’en decoration. 🙂

  8. Are you sure it’s just one marrow in that bag? I think Inca might be in there too!!!!

    Cliff says “When’s the tasting evening Fiona?”

  9. kathyann

    Sounds good to me ! ,think I’ll give this one a go cheaper still if you grow your own marrows .I have some tradefair brown sugar to use up so this is ideal.I have all my mother in laws old wine making books ,you have inspired me to get going ,it will be trial and error but good fun I’m sure Hic !!!!!

  10. You are truly amazing! Should I ever make it over to your neck of the woods I shall be sure to have a sleeping bag in the car as I’m pretty sure having sampled some of your grog, driving afterwards would be illegal!

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