What Is Chow Chow and How Do You Make It? the-cornfed-country-girl

What Is Chow Chow and How Do You Make It?


One of my favorites when I was young was the relish my mother would make called Chow Chow. There is a northern recipe and a southern recipe. The northern recipe consist of everything from cauliflower, carrots, beans, onions, bell peppers, and more. I prefer the southern recipe  typically made with just chopped bell peppers, green tomatoes, sweet onions, and cabbage. You use chow chow as any other relish. 

Southern Chow Chow Relish

Step 1: Gather and wash ingredients

  • 1 lb cabbage (chopped)
  • 6 medium onions (chopped)
  • 6 green bell peppers (chopped)
  • 6 red bell peppers (chopped)
  • 4 cups green tomatoes (peeled and chopped)
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons prepared mustard
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon celery seed
  • 1 tablespoon whole spices (pickling mix)
  • 5 cups white vinegar

Step 2: Prepare ingredients for a food processor. Peel and core tomatoes, take the skin off the onions, and slice and deseed bell peppers.

Step 3: Finely chop ingredients in a food processor. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to chop each ingredient separately.

 Step 4: Combine the chopped cabbage, onions, green and red bell peppers, tomatoes, and salt in a large bowl. Let the mixture sit overnight in the refrigerator, then drain the next day.

Step 5: In a large saucepan over medium heat combine the sugar, mustard, turmeric​, ginger, mustard seed, celery seed, whole spices, and vinegar. Simmer the mixture for 10 minutes. Add the vegetables stir well and simmer until hot and well seasoned.

Step 6: Prep your jars by washing jars, lids and bands in hot soapy water. Rinse well.

Step 7: Place jars in waterbath canner or large pot with rack in the bottom and fill with enough water to cover the jars. Bring to a simmer (180°F) and simmer for at least 10 minutes. Keep the jars in simmering water until ready to fill.

 Step 8: Pack the chow-chow into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space in jar. Remove air bubbles by running a spoon around the rim of the jar if needed.

Step 9: Place jars in waterbath canner or pot with rack. Heat the jar in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes to seal the lids. Remove with jar lifters, keeping upright at all times.

Step 10: Let jars cool on a cutting board or towel with 2 inches of space between each jar for 12 to 24 hours. After cooling, be sure to inspect the seal; here should be no flex when center is pressed. Remove the bands and attempt to lift lids off with your fingertips. Properly sealed lids will remain attached. If a lid fails to seal within 24 hours, immediately refrigerate the product.



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