The Cottage Smallholder

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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.

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  1. During a recent clear out, my mother passed me a old wine bottle with a label in my late father’s hand writing saying “Marrow Rum”. This bottle looks like it’s from the 19th century. Well it’s not….I remember my father making this when I was a kid – must be 35 years ago and what I remember is that he made it pretty much as you have described in your recipe. We always used to joke he would poison someone. Anyway, the point being, we opened this 35year old bottle last week. Tastes fantastic and nicely alcoholic, so the longer you leave it the better it gets is true. Tastes somewhere between a fino sherry and a nice vintage port. I shall now give this a go myself but not sure if I’ll be able to wait 35 years to drink it!

  2. davevegas

    As my marrows are ripe and ready now i will ask again,is it the same quantity & methard as you add to a gallon of wine with the yeast? To stop my marrows exploding i will drill a hole in the top and push a airlock in!

  3. This made my day I curled up laughing twice,especially the exploding marrow and the rocket fuel.

  4. Geoffrey Walker

    My wife tried this method, (cut off the top add sugar sellotape back on etc)
    After a month or so the marrow exploded like a bomb.
    I don’t think I have to describe the damage it caused.
    To this day when the family is gathered together, the subject comes up.
    At least we can smile about it now.
    Regards Geoff 🙂

  5. I have had a look round a few internet sites to find a receipe for the Marrow Rum. We chose the method of slicing the top of the marrow off, stuffing it with brown sugar and a bit of ginger half way down then made a hole at the bottom, popped it in a pair of tights and sat it in a vase. 2 weeks later the vase was full of liquid so we sterilised a wine bottle, strained the liquid again and stored it in the bottle.
    The liquid is very sweet – doesn’t taste alcoholic and is quite thick (like medicine!) Is this correct?? Should the liquid be so thick? Please help??! Thanks 😉

  6. Hi i know this is an old Marrow Rum thread but i wonder if anyone can help me, This year we have had loads of huge Marrows from the Allotment, i say loads more like 4!! I have followed the 2 different ways to do it from the above links ive tried different types of yeast but it just will not ferment, Has anyone had the same problem or does anyone have some advice as i have another Marrow to start the process all over again 🙂

  7. i have done marrow pickle too it is very yum

  8. ive fallen across a lovely idea for marrow chutney. i highly recomend!!!!

  9. maureen

    I started my marrow rum yesterday but i also put rasins in as well i have an allotment in derby and my marrows are doing fine i have also made marrow lemon curd which worked fantastic.

  10. I made this many years ago and used a pair of tights to hang the marrow up. You can then make a hole in the bottom with a nitting needle or such like and drain it out without moving the now limp sidded marrow.
    I also used a darker suger than you did. I will try both methods this year.

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