Time to chow down on Chow Chow

You heard me, I was not stuttering. The name of our number one selling and asked for relish was Chow Chow. I have no idea why it is called that. Corn Relish is called Corn Relish. Pickle Relish is called the same. But somewhere in the past someone started calling the relish Chow Chow. Funny how the name Chow Chow got started, and never stopped.

This is going to be a blog that Grandma would feel good about. We are back to old-fashioned canning basics. I talk about my Grandmother in almost every blog. I do so because she was very important in my life. She taught me how to do things that I now try to pass along to you, only with a newer approach. So I ask you to humor me when I talk about her. If you have heard a story that I am repeating, just thing of it as a rerun. We are all used to reruns. I will give you hints about other relishes that we make  about the same time of the year. Enough talking, time to get cooking! Needless to say, the first recipe is Chow Chow. When we started to make our batches of  Chow Chow we made:

Green Tomato Relish because some of the ingredients were the same thing. About the only difference between the two was the amount of cabbage in one and tomatoes in the other. I will give you the recipe for both and let you decide which one to make, or like us, make them both. Chow Chow is better known, I think. I have Green Tomato Relish recipe at the bottom of this blog so as not to confuse you. Remember when you are cooking the best results start with the best ingredients. Our state inspector always said, “garbage in garbage out”. So look for the best produce available.

Chow Chow: 2 quarts green tomatoes, chopped,   1 1/2 quarts cabbage, chopped finely, 2 cups onions, chopped, 1 cup bell peppers, green – chopped, 1 cup bell peppers, red – chopped,  2 quarts white vinegar, 2 cups sugar, 1 tablespoon pickling spice,  1/4 teaspoon celery seeds, 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard,  1/2 teaspoons turmeric.

Combine cabbage, tomatoes, onion, and peppers in a large non-metallic container. Cover with 1 quart water and 1/2 cup salt (kosher or canning), cover mixture. Refrigerate over night. Drain and rinse a couple of times, draining very well the last time. This will toughen the vegetables so they don’t get soggy. There is nothing worse than soggy relish. This is a very important step in making the best possible relish. If you live in an area where it gets real cool at night, set your pot outside. But make sure that the lid is on in a way to keep critters out.

Mix vinegar, sugar, celery seed, ground mustard, and turmeric and bring to a boil and simmer 15 minutes. Add vegetable mixture, bring back to a boil, then simmer 5 minutes.

Pack into 8 or 16 ounce canning jars. Process in water bath 15 minutes, 20 minutes for 16 ounce. Make sure that the water is at least 2 inches over the tops.

We used purple cabbage, red onions and red peppers to make a more colorful Chow Chow. We were at a show and a lady walked over and picked up a jar of Purple Cabbage Chow Chow and asked if we were Amish. She said that she always got her Chow Chow from them and they used purple cabbage. I have even seen recipes online for relishes using Red Cabbage. Haven’t tried them, not even sure where I could get fresh red cabbage.

I have used cucumbers, chopped in this recipe and this is known as Piccalilli. Not 100% sure on the big difference in these two relishes. So I will just enjoy them both.

The next relish was covered in a earlier blog: but I have the request to do it again. Think of this as a rerun that has been added to. If you have never tried this relish, you really should because it will become a part of your spring planting next year and for the years that follow. You might have guessed that I like this relish best of all the other garden relishes. If you want to skip part of this because you have seen it already, just jump down to the fried green tomatoes. Do not pass them up. So here goes….

Green Tomato Relish: 2 quarts green tomatoes, cored, and chopped, 1 quart cabbage, chopped, 1/2 cup bell peppers, green – chopped,            1 cup onion – finely chopped, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup kosher salt, or canning salt, 1/2 tablespoons mustard seeds, 1/2 tablespoon celery seeds, 1/2 tablespoon prepared horseradish, 2 cups cider vinegar.

Sprinkle salt over vegetables and mix thoroughly; let stand 3 to 4 hours. Rinse and drain thoroughly. Press to remove free liquid. Add sugar, spices and horseradish to vinegar; simmer 15 minutes. Add vegetables and bring to boil. Hot pack into 8 ounce or 16 ounce canning jars. Process in water bath 15 minutes, 20 for 16 ounce. Store in a cool dry place.

While you are working with green tomatoes, why not fix a batch of Fried Green Tomatoes. Something so good, they made a movie with the name.

They are very simple and the taste if delicious! Just slice and fry. What could be better or easier.

Fried Green Tomatoes   4 medium, firm green tomatoes, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/2 cup corn meal, 1/2 cup milk (buttermilk is best, but it is up to you), 1 egg, salt and pepper to taste. Mix your dry ingredients, then mix your wet ingredients. Place tomato slices in milk/egg wash, then dredge thru a mixture of flour/corn meal. Using a  frying pan with peanut or vegetable oil fry the tomatoes till they are golden brown, flip and repeat on other side. Place on drying rack or what ever method you have for draining fried foods. We always used brown paper grocery bags. But a rack is probably better.

I really like mine served with a pork chop or fried chicken. But just by themselves they are a taste treat. I know this blog is about canning, but I could not resist. They taste so very good.

Let’s get back to the jars we canned. The rings on the tops of the jars tend to rust because of the vinegar. So what we do is remove the rings after the jars have completely cooled: the jar is sealed with the dome. We add the ring back when we open it. Something Mary Lynn does is use a plastic jar cover that replaces the dome and the ring after the jar is open. I am not sure where she found those, I think they were in the same section she found canning supplies. They really work great. This is what they look like

There is another way to do this, you can take some plastic wrap and use with the ring. Or like the photo shows, a plastic lid. Whatever way works best for you.

When we sold our relishes people would always ask if we had their favorite relish. When we showed them the jars, so many times they would say do you have this in a hotter version. We were prepared for this with a hotter version and a very hot version. We just used Jalapeno peppers for the hot and Habanero peppers for the hottest. To do this with Chow Chow we just used 1/2 cup less Bell Peppers, substituting Jalapeno Peppers  that were seeded and chopped. The same idea works for Green tomato Relish,  don’t make it too hot. The flavor of the Green Tomato is such a unique taste that it is a shame to change it with hot peppers.

Mary Lynn makes the best homemade Tartar Sauce using Chow Chow or Green Tomato Relish in place of sweet pickles. She also puts in grated onions in the sauce. Let sit in the in refrigerator till needed again.

We used both relishes on hot dogs or hamburgers and even Brats. I know I said I was a purist, but the Green Tomato relish on a grilled sandwich is just awesome.

Just as I get rolling. I look at the word total at the bottom and it tells me to save what I was going to use for another blog. So check back, or even better subscribe to my blog. If you do, you will get new blogs delivered to you via e-mail. Well there is plenty of room in future blogs.  Grandma would be happy with this blog. We got back to the basics, the things that Mary Lynn and I made a great business from.

Don’t forget…. let me know what you would like to make or any ideas you have for the next blog. Also if you have any questions you would like me to try to solve. Just drop me a note at jellymanga@gmail.com.

Don’t keep my blogs a secret, pass the word on to your friends, neighbors and family members. They just might make something and share with you.

Please feel free to share my blog on Facebook or Twitter or even MySpace.com. I want to get as many people exposed to the good things as possible. So share and ask your friends to share, PLEASE.

Don’t forget, if someone asks you can you can it?              Say YES I can can it.

About Pete Austin & The Austin House

My wife, Mary Lynn and I had a very sucessful canning business for over 15 years, called The Austin House Jams & Jellies. We had to close it due to pure health. I will be writing a blog about some of the recipes, and how to use them. Also some of the interesting, funny, weird things that have happened in our traveling with the business. If you follow me, you will see that I look at things just a little different than others. If you look at the header at the top of the page, you see that I am looking at things. Making sure eveything looks as good as possible.
This entry was posted in Award Winning, Chow Chow, Cider Vinegar, Cooking, Food Preservation, Fried Green Tomatoes, Green Tomato, Green Tomato Relish, Habanero Peppers, Home Made, Hot Pack, No artifical ingredients, No preservatives, Old Fashioned, Recipe, Red Onion, Tomato, Vinegars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Time to chow down on Chow Chow

  1. Girlscout63 says:

    We are very excited to try both of these !!!


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