Sydney’s ‘Truth’ newspaper (1890 – 1958) ran a weekly competition for recipes within its ‘Making Good Wives Better’ column, offering ‘substantial cash prizes for the best recipes submitted each week.’ Mrs. G. Carroll of 25 Prospect Street, Erskineville submitted a recipe for ‘Marrow Honey’ – ‘a delicious spread for bread and butter‘ that was published in January 1943. Mrs. Carroll missed out on the generous £3 first prize but came away with second prize and £1:
Mrs. Carroll was beaten to the £3 by a recipe for ‘Stuffed Bacon Rolls’ (‘an unusual but tasty recipe‘) but managed to see off the challenge presented by the entry of a recipe for ‘Spiced Orangeade,’ (‘a beverage for warm days, which makes the most of the now expensive orange‘) which came in for third prize and 10 shillings.
The £1 prize awarded to Mrs. Carroll was substantial in 1943. At the time £1 would have covered the rent on a small Erskineville terrace or cottage for more than a week.
900grams (2 pounds) zucchini or courgette
15 grams (1 ounce) ginger
680 grams (1½ pounds) of caster sugar
1. Dice the zucchini and spread over a large flat tray.
2. Cover with the sugar and allow to stand for 12 hours. During this time moisture will be drawn out of the zucchini.
3. Bruise the ginger (see How to Bruise Ginger Root for more).
4. Grate the rind from the lemon, and juice the lemon.
5. Place all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Stir constantly for approximately 40 minutes, or until the syrup thickens.
6. Strain the contents of the saucepan through a strainer, pressing down on the contents of the strainer to extract as much of the syrup as possible.
7. Pour the strained syrup onto a sterilised glass jar (see How to Sterilise Jars for more).
The above recipe made enough marrow honey to fill one standard-sized glass jam jar, with a little left over.
So how does it taste? Well … like sugar syrup with a hint of ginger, and a slight whiff of zucchini. I don’t think the apiarists have too much to worry about…
A similar recipe for Marrow Honey appears in the ‘War Economy Recipe Book‘ published in New Zealand in 1943:
Meanwhile, a search of the Trove Database for Marrow Honey recipes presents two or three alternatives, including this eerily similar one appearing in the Townsville Daily Bulletin twelve years prior in 1931:
What’s going on here then?