Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tomato Chow Chow

50 Garden Tomatoes
What do you do with an abundance of tomatoes from the garden? I have a tomato and pepper garden just outside my kitchen door. The pepper plants are growing but not yielding peppers yet. More water? Surely not more sun. On the other hand, the tomato plants are yielding an abundance of tomatoes in spurts. One afternoon this week I noticed a lot of red in the garden. Too excited to go grab a bag or basket, I filled my hands with as many as they could hold and took them to the kitchen. After a couple of times, I took a plastic bag out to the garden for the rest. When I came back to the kitchen, my husband was sitting at the table counting tomatoes. He said, "You have 49 tomatoes!" I said, "I'll go get one more so we'll have 50."
One person has a limit to the tomatoes he or she can eat in a salad for lunch or a sandwich. What would I do with all these tomatoes? I could give some away. Ah, I know. I'll make Chow Chow. Both my grandmothers made Chow Chow. If you've never tasted it, you have missed out on some good 'ole southern eating. Chow Chow is a relish that my family ate with black eyed peas, cream peas, all kinds of peas except English peas. It is delicious. So I've decided to make some Chow Chow. Here is a Chow Chow recipe like one of my grandmothers often made:


  • 5 cups coarsely chopped green tomatoes (about 5 tomatoes and can use red tomatoes)
  • 5 cups coarsely chopped cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds cabbage)
  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped yellow onion or sweet onion
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt or pickling salt
  • 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon celery seed


Combine the vegetables into a large bowl, and stir in salt. Cover and let stand for 4 hours or refrigerate overnight. Prepare canner and jars. Add water to canner with rack and heat to boiling. Reduce heat and simmer. The level of water should be about an inch above the filled jars. Wash jars and heat water in a small saucepan. Place the lids in the saucepan, and bring almost to a boil. Turn heat on low to keep the lids hot.
Drain vegetables and rinse.
In a large bowl, bring the vinegar, brown sugar, spices and seeds to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add drained vegetables and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Pack the hot drained vegetables into the heated jars. Cover vegetables with the pickling liquid. Leave 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch space at the top. Secure the jars with the flat lids and the rings. Be sure not to over-tighten the rings. Place jars into canner. Bring to a full boil. Cover and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars of Chow Chow and cool completely.You'll know the jars are ready when you hear them pop as they are cooling.
Makes about 4 pints.
I'm so happy that you came to visit today!

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