Dirt to Table Experience- Southern Sweet Chow-Chow Relish

I am smiling at myself.  There things you don’t imagine yourself doing.  I have realized that there are many things that could not be imagined at some point in my life, that became a reality at another point.  Example, shoveling manure out of a wheel barrel into a garden plot and enjoying every minute.  There was a moment I  thought, “This brings new meaning to shoveling sh**”.  Followed by a second brief moment, “If only my friends could see me now”.  In reality, it is difficult to shake my city slicker ways, and embrace a calmer closer to the earth way of life.  I obviously crave it, as I am always seeking ways to get closer to what I value.  One of the things I value is food.

Something else I did not imagine doing was canning food.  I attempted to can a tomato salsa for my family one year.  Can you tell me what happens when you can fresh, uncooked diced tomatoes?  The pressure builds in the jar, and when you open it, it will explode.  Yes, there would have been no telling what would have happened had I proudly gave out my jars of joy to each member of my family.  My desire to can promptly came to an end.

The new reality is that I had an abundance of cabbage in my garden.  More cabbage than my family was willing to enjoy each day.  We grew it, I can’t waste it!  The thought passes through my mind maybe, just maybe, I should can it…. the thought became a reality, and so I did.  With a little help from my food processor and actually following the directions, I managed to produce 10 quart size jars of something delicious.  With only a slight hesitancy, willing to share with my friends because this time I think I did it right.

Chow-Chow is a southern style relish that has long been a favorite as a topping on pinto beans, hot dogs, black-eyed peas, hamburgers, collards, and other greens.  It is really quite delicious.

Did I mention it was easy too?

Southern Sweet Chow-Chow Relish
Recipe from the Mountain Laurel
Makes 5-6 Jars


Ingredients:
2 quarts shredded cabbage (1 medium head)
1/2 cup sweet onions, chopped fine
1/2 cup red or green bell peppers chopped fine
2  tablespoons salt
Note: I added a hot pepper to some of my jars to add a spicy kick.
Combine the chopped vegetables and sprinkle with salt.  Let stand in the refrigerator 4-6 hours.  Drain well.
Combine the following ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.  Use a large enough pot to mix the vegetables in later.
2 cups vinegar
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 teaspoons mustard seed
Add vegetables to vinegar-spice mixture and simmer another 10 minutes.  Bring to boil then pack, boiling hot into heated canning jars, leaving only 1/8-inch head space.  Place canning lids and rings on jars, and tighten.
Turn the jars upside down so that all the heat is on the seals.  Don’t turn the jars upright until the jars are completely cool.
Enjoy!
Note: If you would like to share a Dirt to Table Experience as a guest blogger on Tomatoes on the Vine send me an email.  I would love to share your experience.

46 thoughts on “Dirt to Table Experience- Southern Sweet Chow-Chow Relish

  1. I may currently be in the midwest but I'm a southern girl through and through. My grandmother made chow chow every summer. It was for pinto beans, hot dogs and, sometimes, hamburgers. I haven't had it in so many years but loved it!! Those cans are beautiful!! Thanks for the memories.Best,Bonnie

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  2. Your blog is lovely! I enjoyed your story of canning the tomatoes and them exploding for your family. Sorry! But too funny. I've never had cabbage prepared this way. Looks interesting. Thanks for the visit! I'll be back!

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  3. Velva – You did it! You conquered the fear of canning. I'd love to can, but I'm so scared of it. Thanks for giving me a nudge in the right direction.I know you are going to enjoy your chow chow.

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  4. I finally conquered my fear of canning a little over a year ago. I am loving this recipe since I really like cabbage (having grown on on Frank's Kraut which is made in a town near the one in which I grew up). I'm copying this to try next summer when cabbage hits the Farmers' Market!Thanks, Velva!

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  5. Marvelous, Velva. I've copied the recipe. I remember getting together with a couple aunts and spending all day making chili sauce. Those canning days were so much fun!

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  6. I made green tomato chow for the first time this past fall and it is delicious – I cut back a lot on the sugar and it is still really yummy. I didn't have a clue you could use cabbage, too. I have posted mine as well – advice is always welcome!Hubby LOVES cabbage – so this may well be next years chow chow!:)V

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  7. GREAT! Something I don't have to wait until summer to fix. We love chow chow. I'm always surprised at how much it costs at the store.

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  8. For the past few weeks we have been getting huge (on steroid-huge) cabbages from our family's orchard. We made salads, stuffed cabbage leaves and more salads. This is a great recipe and I love the idea of making something that will last for a while and can be used as a topping for hotdogs and burgers and what not/ This recipe is a lifesaver!

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  9. Oh, yum! Looks and sounds incredible. I have no idea why, but I've yet to try canning anything. I need to get on that. 🙂

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  10. I like spicy chow chow but I've never made it myself…especially from cabbage I'd frown myself! I bet it will turn out great….and I'm not shoveling sh**.

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  11. Thanks for this recipe. It takes me back to my youth when my grandmother made chow chow. Looking forward to making this ASAP!!!

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  12. How many jars do I need to prepare, and what size? I usually make green tomato chow chow, but the tomato crop didn't do so well this year. This looks like the perfect alternative.

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  13. Exactly the recipe that I was looking for. I did add some hot peppers, not many, and I also added about 8 lg green tomatoes and basically tripled everything else because my family loves this stuff. I think we have enough for the year!

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  14. A big shout out for the recipe. This is my second year making this recipe. I only made one run last year and we ran out way to fast. Making 2 runs this year. Got my veggies in the fridge now soaking in the salt. We eat this stuff on everything. LOL!! Big Big fan of your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

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