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.

  Leave a reply


  1. Will Gingell

    Taking a bit of a gamble hoping for a reply, due to the age of this thread, but here goes any way.
    Had my first go at making MR, followed the instructions to the letter. However, after just 1 day, all of the liquid had been expelled from the marrow, and the rest had turned into mush.
    I bottled the liquid and fitted an airlock, and it has been sat in a dark cupboard for a few weeks.
    Is this going to be drinkable alcohol, or do I have to cut my losses?
    Any ideas why it converted sugar so quick? Could it of been too warm?
    Any replies would be welcome,

    • Have patience – see Wayne Flanagan comment

    • Dewi Morgan

      I am going to try this today, not with a marrow but with 2 oversized courgettes.
      I can’t think why yours went to mush so quickly when the recipe/method seems to have worked for other people. Perhaps the marrow was overripe?
      Anyway it sounds as if you’ve rescued the situation by trying to ferment the liquid out. Any combination of sugar, water and yeast should result in some alcohol at least so as long as it is fermenting it is worth keeping to see what happens.
      Good luck.

  2. Des Birch

    Just hung my first attempt in the garage. I thought I might run the liquid into a fermenting jar and then then sieve the marrow with more juice and yeast and put into a demijohn. That way I should satisfy my impatience while still getting maximum benefits. How will I know when the first one is done?

  3. Could anyone suggest anything different to orange juice as I’m allergic to that ….. ?

  4. Wayne Flanagan

    my dad made this in 1975 in preperation for my 21st ..1991 i was 21..he gave it to me .. yes he aged it 21 yrs .. gave me equivlent of a pubs double .. it was sweet but nice… 10 mins later my legs wouldnt work but mentally i was ‘sound’ i just coudnt get them pins working … dam good stuff .. i have now made some for my sone its now aged 16 yrs and counting ..

  5. The liquid that has come out of my marrow is like treacle can I water it down before putting it in bottles

  6. Reginald

    I am of the opinion, on marrow rum, why seal the sugar in the marrow at all !! I am thinking to put the flesh without outer shell in my big fermenting bin for the first off, then into jenijones to finish then when ready bottle.

  7. Always wanted to do this. I recall you have to put a slit in the bottom and let it drip through as it ferments. Obviously making it fly proof is the biggest problem.

  8. sharon papen

    Can I use ordinary bread yeast instead of wine yeast to make my rum

  9. Beware ! We tried this some years ago, we hung it in the kitchen, it exploded overnight. Maybe we did something wrong, Looking forward to hearing your results. Geoff 🙂 🙂

  10. Having just started my first marrow rum this afternoon, I’m really curious about the results, this is the first time I’ve attempted the dark arts of home brewing (I did make some sloe gin and vodka last year but this is something different), I’m very used to making preserves and jams etc, but I feel really out of my comfort zone, I’ve used your recipe above, what I’m really looking for are some hints about what to look for as we go along, what will it smell like, how does it taste, how long do you ferment in demi john for etc.
    Any tips will be most gratefully received.

    • Hi Steve,
      Keep it in the demo john with an air lock on with a little neat gin or vodka in it to keep the bugs out of the rum. Then wait for the bubbles to stop coming through the alcohol. Give it a couple of weeks to make sure. When bottling make sure all the bottles are sterile by putting them on a low heat in the oven for 20 mins

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