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. Help I’ve done my marrow filled with sugar etc it’s dropping out from top I think it’s only 5 days since I did it what should I do????

    • Owain Collins

      hi what did you do I have the same problem now.

      • Make a small hole (knitting needle size) in the bottom of the marrow and drain it in a clean uncoloured bucket. Then transfer to a demi john, put on a blip thingie t see if its still fermenting. bottle as soon as it stops fermenting as the air in the bottle will taint the rum

  2. Aahh! Advice please. Marrow rum was slowly, slowly gurgling away in the airing cupboard since
    Oct 2016. Went on holiday 3 weeks ago and have just decided to bottle. It was then I noticed that the vodka or gin ( can’t remember ) I put in the airlock was gone. Does this mean I’ve wasted 6 months or should I bottle and hope for the best.

  3. Justine

    So I hung my marrow with demorera sugar and wine yeast in it. The whole thing turned to mush so I out it in a Demi John bottle and filled it about 3/4 with water, more yeast and the juice of an orange. It’s been in the cupboard under my stairs for about 9 months and it doesn’t bubbble or anything. Smells a bit like cider!
    Should I add more yeast? Or something? Or just leave it for longer?

    • Dewi Morgan

      Try tasting it.It must have fermented out by now. So long as it doesn’t taste “off” it should be OK to drink.

  4. Hello everyone.
    I am a complete and utter novice at this and I’m hoping for a little advice.
    My neighbor recently gave me two marrows from his allotment. After seeing this site i made
    bold claims about a knee trembling liquid i was going to produce. So far i have drained both
    marrows of their liquid . I put it all in one demijohn. I then put the juice of an orange in and a handful of raisins. My concern is that it has now been in the airing cupboard for nearly two
    weeks and, although the raisins are moving, i never see any bubbles coming out of the air
    lock. Also, i put liquid equally at one and a half bubbles high in the lock . It is now empty on one side and 2 high on the other. Please help.

    • Dewi Morgan

      Sounds as if there is enough fermentation and gas production to push the water down in the airlock, but perhaps the airlock and/or cork or rubber bung is not making an airtight fit and the gas is escaping past the cork.
      Just a thought, but persevere, nothing to lose.

      • Thanks for the reply. Im reasonably confident that there are no gaps. What might be a factor is that its only about a third full. So im thinking that maybe there Isn’t enough pressure yet to push out through the lock. I’m also a little concerned as to how long to leave before bottling.

  5. Raymond Rowley

    Forgot to say I have put about 2.5 lbs of dem sugar into marrow and finished with about 2 thirds of a demi liquid. Any help?.

    • I never measure my rum or wines. Just use them as they come. Sorry I am not much help here. Please let me know what you do and how your rum turns out

  6. Raymond Rowley

    Help ! Jane, or anyone. Have been following recipe and have reached stage where the marrow was disintegrating so put cloudy liquid into demi to finish fermenting. It has been popping ok for about 5 weeks then ceased.I assumed the fermenting process was complete and racked it into another demi and added finings.
    Curious I took an gravity reading to find alcoholic content but counted you need to have taken one before fermentation started.
    The reading was 1.055. I think it should be a lot lower.should I try and restart fermentation or have I got a liqueur.
    Ray Rowley. Novice.

  7. Gin would be fine and yes, bottle when there are no air bubbles coming out. Check for a couple of hours though. Should be ready to drink straight away but will benefit from leaving for as long as you can bear

  8. Raymond Rowley

    Thanks Jane. Don’t know how my spelling for demi-John turned into something else.
    I filled the air lock with boiled cooled water. I don’t have vodka but I could raid the wife,s gin stock.
    I presume you mean bottle it when the fermenting has finished i.e. no bubbles are going thro the air lock.

  9. I always fill the air lock with neat tasteless alcohol such as vodka as it keeps the brew sterile.
    I wouldn’t put water in the rum as it will weaken it but don’t leave it the demi john for longer than nesary. Bottle it as soon as possible
    Good luck
    Let s know how you get on

  10. Raymond Rowley

    Help. Have dumped marrow and have about 2 thirds of a Seminole full of brown liquid which is gurgling happily thro airlock. There are so many diff recipes that I getting confused. Think I saw one say that they topped up the feminism with cooled boiled water. Should I do this?. What happens to the finished product? When is it ready to sup?

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