Marrow: Getting through the glut

By Monica Shaw •

There seems to be a glut of marrows at the moment. Monica took advantage of the current UK climate that has produced some sizeable marrows this year and shares her favourite ways of cooking them. Top of the list is a recipe for marrow and ginger chutney.


I have neither a veg patch nor a green thumb but fortunately I have friends who do. And being generous, my friends often treat me to the delights of their garden, particularly those delights which grow in abundance and are difficult to use up. Such was the case last week when my friend Sam brought over a several gigantic marrow from Shipton Mill’s biodynamic garden.

When she unveiled these beasts, I could see why no one else wanted them; they were intimidating in both size and mystery. Marrow is a vegetable that I’d only heard of since moving to the UK. It’s like a ginormous courgette. But what do you do with a courgette that’s bigger than your head?
With so much marrow and only limited stomach capacity, my mind immediately turned to preserves. I made a delicious marrow and ginger chutney that was astounding straight out of the preserving pan - chunky, not cloyingly sweet, and with a good bit of spice from the ginger - but it should get even better with age.

Marrow and Ginger Chutney

Prep time: 40 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
This recipe is adapted from James Martin’s recipe The weight of the marrow is BEFORE peeling and de-seeding. I was also short on malt vinegar so used about 550ml malt vinegar and 300ml of apple cider vinegar. I also used golden delicious apples but I suspect any apple will do!
  • 1½ kg/3lb 5 oz marrow, peeled and deseeded
  • 225g shallots, sliced
  • 225g apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 225g sultanas
  • 2cm piece ginger, finely chopped
  • 225g demerara sugar
  • 850ml malt vinegar
  • 12 black peppercorns
  • Cut the marrow into small pieces (about 1cm dice), put in a large bowl and sprinkle liberally with 2 tbsp salt. Cover and leave for 12 hrs. You should wind up with a lot of liquid at the bottom of your bowl.
  • Rinse and drain the marrow, then place in a preserving pan or large saucepan with the shallots, apples, sultanas, ginger, sugar and vinegar. Tie the peppercorns in muslin (or put into a small enclosed tea strainer) and place in the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring from time to time, until the consistency is thick (I simmered mine for a couple of hours, though James Martin says “cook time” is 25 minutes; I suppose it all depends on how much moisture is in your ingredients!).
  • Leave to settle for 10 mins, then spoon into sterilised jars (see tip on BBC Good Food's website), put on the lids and label. Will keep for a year in a cool, dark place
Even more exciting were these marrow pickles both riffs on traditional cucumber pickles. The first was a kosher dill style pickle and the second was a sweet and sour pickle. The results were not unlike what I would have expected from cucumbers. It seems that marrow, with its slightly tough skin and fairly neutral but firm flesh, is very similar to cucumber. In fact, if I didn’t already know these pickles were made with marrow, I might have assumed they were cucumber. In any case, I was delighted by both of these recipes - the kosher dill pickles are perfectly crispy, and the sweet and sour pickles just beg to be piled on a sandwich
Of course, you can always cook marrow and enjoy it much as you would a zucchini. Here are some more ideas:

Is anyone else using marrow in novel ways to get through the glut? I’d love to hear your ideas, because there’s still plenty more marrow to go around!


Monica Shaw

Monica Shaw is web consultant working with chefs, restaurants & food producers, to help them make use of the internet to improve their businesses. She's also a freelance writer, her credits include The Daily Telegraph, Chef Magazine and food mag. Monica enjoys experimenting with vegetables & creating delicious & healthy dishes, a topic covered on her blog SmarterFitter.com. She is working on The Healthy Vegan Breakfast Book, due to be published in March 2013

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