Introduction: Marrow Rum or "Booze From Otherwise Useless Vegetables"
So your courgettes have grown infeasibly large. You can't do anything useful with them, right? WRONG. YOU CAN MAKE THEM INTO BOOZE! Want to know how to perform this seemingly magical feat of wizardry? Then read on my friends.
Step 1: Gathering Supplies
The things you need for boozing a marrow are these:
A marrow - any size, preferably large (mine's medium)
Brown sugar - volume is dependent on your marrow, I managed to pack about a kilo in
Raisins - purely optional, just a handful to mix in with the sugar for flavour
Dried wine yeast - this is to make the sugar turn to booze, pretty essential
1l measuring jug - for mixing, measuring and whatnot
A funnel - the kind you pour oil into your car with. But clean.
A demijohn - one of them big wine making jug thingamebobs
An airlock - funky little thing, lets the CO2 out and doesn't let the bugs in
Step 2: Chopping and Hollowing
Lop the top of your marrow off. About 3 inches from the top, so you can get to the seeds (save the top for later, throw the seeds out unless you've got your own use for them).
Get some kind of long spoon - I used a sundae spoon that could nearly reach the bottom. Start scooping out all the seeds from the middle of the marrow, leaving as much flesh around the outside as possible. This is the hardest part of the whole affair, and it's easy. Know what that means? You're barely working, and you're getting booze!
Now this next bit should be done quite quickly - do it too slow and your marrow will absorb too much water.
Get your marrow and your jug by the kitchen sink. Fill up the marrow with water, right to the top, then QUICKLY POUR IT INTO THE JUG QUICK YOU'LL SPOIL IT! See that amount of water? That's the volume you've got to fill with sugar. In reality it's larger than that, because the sugar compresses and soaks into the flesh, but it's a good first estimate.
Step 3: Packing the Sugar
Fill up your jug to a shade above the level you measured out - the sugar packs down a fair deal. Mix in your raisins and start spooning it into your marrow. Every few spoonfuls, pack it down really quite forcefully with the spoon. Eventually you'll have put in enough (quite a bit more than you measured, if mine's anything to go by) to fill it to the brim. The sugar will start absorbing the liquid from the marrow's flesh and get a bit like syrup at this stage.
Finally for now, tape the top of the marrow back on. Maybe add a bit of clingfilm around the vicinity to keep flies away. Now, if you can bring yourself to, leave it alone in a warm dark place (like an airing cupboard) for a day.
Step 4: The Piercing and the Funneling
Left it for a day? Good. Notice how it's all squidgy now? Well it is. Today you'll need a funnel and a demijohn in addition to your sugary, sugary marrow. If you don't have a funnel, you can make one out of a plastic drinks bottle pretty easily; and when you remove that bit that gets left over from the lid, it's the perfect size to slot into your demijohn. If you don't have a marrow, you've done something wrong.
Secure your funnel into the demijohn. I used packing tape, but duct tape is best if you've got it (obviously - it's best for everything). Now take all the tape and clingfilm off your marrow, it's bound to be grotty by now. Wipe down the marrow with a damp cloth to clean it, then poke a hole in the bottom with something thin - I used a cocktail stick.
Balance the marrow in the funnel, pick a position where it stays upright by itself, then tape and film all over it to keep it in place. Now move it somewhere warm and dry for the remainder of its useful life.
Step 5: Topping Up and Reinforcing
After a few days, possibly a week, your marrow is going to start to get a bit empty and saggy. This doesn't mean it's time to give up - oh no. You can carefully remove it from its filmy shackles and top it up with sugar again. If there's no liquid goodness left, mix the first couple of spoons of sugar in hot water to get it going again. It will dilute the end product a little, but it'll get some more of the marrow's flavour out.
This time you can see I taped a few kebab sticks to the demijohn and the marrow to reinforce it and combat the aforementioned sagging.
Step 6: Fermentation! Caution - Long Step
So, your marrow has dripped out somewhere in the region of a winebottlesworth (totally a real unit - but around 750ml for the sane) and it's starting to smell. Maybe it doesn't smell, maybe that's just mine. Either way, you might have some scum floating on top of your collected juice.
As the scum was floating on the top, I could neither pour nor siphon (well maybe I could have siphoned, I just couldn't be bothered to find the tube) to rid myself of it. Recalling a chemistry lesson from long ago, I remembered a brilliant piece of kit called a pear-shaped separating funnel. For those less familiar with these clever little things, they work very much like a normal funnel, but with a tap in the bottom and a plug in the top. I realised I could create a makeshift separating funnel using an empty coke bottle with a small hole in the bottom. The rate of flow would be adjusted by maintaining a tight control on the lid, preventing the pressure from equalising inside the bottle, thus stopping the liquid escaping through the hole.
This looked like it was going to be more effort than it was worth, so I scraped the scum off with a fork.
Now, on to the relevant part. You may have noticed when pouring your sugar water about the place that it is quite thick. Thicker than, say, rum. To remedy this, boil some water and top up your demijohn until the consistency looks about right. Scientific, I know.
Mixing some boiling water with cold, make a cupful up at around room temperature. To this, add a pinch of sugar and stir it in until it dissolves. Add to this your dried wine yeast, stir it up and wait for your demijohn to cool down before adding it in.
Bung your airlock on, and you're good to wait for a month or so.
Step 7: Bottling and Drinking
All that's left to do now is bottle it and wait for a solid year. Yup. Easy as that. Go on, what's stopping you?
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