yellow chow chow

Chow-chow–a pickled mix of green tomatoes, onions, cabbage and cucumbers also known as piccalilli–is a beloved traditional Southern United States relish. If you have tomatoes aplenty cropping up in your garden, give this recipe a whirl.

Chow-chow relish recipes vary widely from family to family. There even is a Pennsylvania version that’s much sweeter than the tart Southern classic. This version is adapted from a cookbook passed down from my grandmother, Housekeeping in Old Virginia. While you can eat Chow-Chow on its own, the relish is usually eaten atop biscuits, burgers, hot dogs or even crab cakes.

Southern Chow-Chow

Makes about 1 gallon (8 pints)

Ingredients

16 cups green tomatoes (about 6 pounds)
1 large head of cabbage
6 large onions
12 medium cucumbers
1 cup grated horseradish 
kosher salt
1/2 pound white mustard seed
1/4 cup ground black pepper
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sucanat or brown sugar
vinegar to cover 
1/4 cup ground mustard
1/2 cup olive oil

Method

Finely dice the tomatoes, cabbage, onions and cucumbers. Pack vegetables and horseradish into a large pickling jar. Top with about 1/2 cup kosher salt. 

Let sit overnight.

In the morning, drain off the brine and cover with hot vinegar. Pack with salt again that night and repeat the process the next morning and night. On the third morning, drain off the brine and add mustard seed, black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and brown sugar. Cover with hot vinegar. 

Mix together ground mustard and olive oil. Mix into the chow-chow while it’s still warm. Chill and serve.

Adapted from Housekeeping in Old Virginia, M.C. Tyree, 1879

Rush Method

Not willing to wait three days? Try this rush method. 

Finely dice the tomatoes, cabbage, onions and cucumbers. Pack vegetables and horseradish into a large pickling jar. Top with about 1/2 cup kosher salt. 

Let sit overnight.

In the morning, drain off the brine. Place in a large stockpot. Add mustard seed, black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and brown sugar. Add 4 cups vinegar and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Boil for 4-5 minutes.

Mix together ground mustard and olive oil. Mix into the chow-chow while it’s still warm. Chill and serve.

Canning Method

Divide hot relish among 8 pint jars. Seal and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes.

If you love relish, try these Garden Fresh Delish Relish recipes, too. Or try Pickling a Peck of Peppers.

Keep in touch with Kristi on Twitter @VeggieConverter

Image: glamhag