When my mom told me that she was in possession of all of great-grandma Blanche’s recipes, I asked, “Is there a recipe for chow chow?” In my great-grandma’s letters, she talks about making chow chow, and I was curious how she made hers.
If you’re not familiar with chow chow, it’s a tangy, crunchy relish that’s made with green tomatoes, cabbage, and peppers. Some people make their chow chow sweet, but I keep mine on the piquant and savory side. To use chow chow, you can spoon some into a bowl of beans, spread it on sausage, or even top off a taco. Its flavor goes a long way in brightening up rich, heavy dishes.
- 2 pint-sized jars or 1 quart-size jar with lids and bands
- 1 pound (about 3) green tomatoes, diced finely
- 4 cups (about ¼ head) green cabbage, shredded finely and chopped
- 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 4 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded, and diced
- 1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard seed
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
Combine the green tomatoes, cabbage, onion, garlic, red bell pepper, and jalapeños in a large bowl. Season with the kosher salt and fill the bowl with water to cover the vegetables. Cover and refrigerate the vegetables for at least 4 hours.
Sterilize the jars and lids in either a pot of boiling water or dishwasher. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Drain the vegetables from the brine (but do not rinse) and add to the pot. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally. Add more salt if you feel it’s necessary.
Pack the cooked chow chow into the jars, cover with the lids, and fasten with the rings. Place in the refrigerator and allow it to sit overnight before using, though it just gets better with age. It will keep in the refrigerator for 1 month.