Marrow Rum or "Booze From Otherwise Useless Vegetables"





Introduction: Marrow Rum or "Booze From Otherwise Useless Vegetables"

About: Guitars and booze. Pretty much sums up what I make. A booze guitar? Totally already thought of that, stop trying to steal my ideas. You're always doing that. Might make a synthesiser in the future.

Hey ho.

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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    Could you drink after the month or so of fermenting? We grew a giant marrow this year and kind of had our heart set on it being a christmas treat!

    Just a couple of queries, how does this differ from wine? With so much sugar in it won't it be fermenting for a long time? Thanks

    3 replies

    I suppose it could be called a wine, yeah. It is generally fermenting for quite a while, but it slows right down to the point where it's unnoticeable after a month or two. You can kill it with heat or campden tablets if you want.

    Thanks, heat sounds like a better option for killing the yeast off, can the same be done with wine do you think?

    Yeah, but I wouldn't. Wine benefits from the aging quite a bit. Tannins and whatever, technical stuff I can't really remember.

    I am having a go at this and had to half the marrow to get the seeds out. I taped it as best I could but it is already starting to leak out the syrup. Does anyone know if this will effect the quality?

    2 replies

    You don't want anything you drink to come into with adhesives, really. I'd chuck it and start again.

    No problem I shall wait for my next one to grow hopefully it will be fatter :)

    Thanks for the reminder.

    Many, many moons ago I used to make similar but I cut the marrow in half, lenghtwise to scoop out the seeds, tie or tape it back together and follow as you did. I then pricked the bottom of the marrow and hung it upright in an old pillow case so the liquid could drip into a large container/clean bucket. Left it until the marrow was total mush and I couldn't squeeze another drop of liquid out f it, then proceeded as you did with demi-john, etc. Planted the seeds and fed the remaining (little bit) of mush to the hens.

    Great Instructable, whether I make it or not, you had me pi**ing myself. Thanks!

    hi I am about to try the recipe for this marrow rum it sounds very interesting and I will be waiting a long time to find out what it is like hope it will be worth it I have quite a few large marrows in my garden to try will let you know in about 12 months

    2 replies

    Getting started on this tomorrow so I hope to hear great things from you Alan42 in the next 4 months :)

    Glad you like it. If you've got a few, try only doing one at a time if they'll keep. That way you can make mistakes and still have some to play with.

    Awesome! My dad used to make this when I was a kid! And I couldn't remember how!! Thank you! Hiccup!

    1 reply

    Glad to be of service my good fellow. That reminds me, I should probably write up my sloe gin now I've drained the last of it...

    ok i need some american english translation here "bung you airlock"?

    1 reply

    'Bung' as in cork or stopper, generally used in the term 'bunged up', meaning blocked. Stick the airlock in the hole, basically.

    Gday, it was pretty interesting reading through your whole instructable :) We do a bit of home brewing already but it's always interesting to try new things. I've got a question for you mate.. What on earth is a Marrow/Courgett? Looks a lot like a big ass zucchini.. but I've honestly never heard of a Marrow before. What do they taste like?

    1 reply

    Yup, that's the bugger. We just call the tiny ones zucchinis here, when they grow a bit they're a courgette and when they're massive they're marrows. They don't taste of much when they get to this size, but it subtly flavours the sugar water coming out the other end.