Dips, Spreads & Condiments

Tomato Chow Chow (Tomato Relish)

Okay, I’ll be completely honest here…

Until today the only Chow Chow I have heard of has been the dog breed.  The only reason i even looked this up was because I found a recipe that called for it.  My first reaction was “wtf is tomato chow chow?!?!”.  So a searched a bit while fighting with my net connection going in and out.  Lo and behold!  I found one that sounded decent.

Now let it be known that i haven’t tried this recipe yet, but have added it here so i can find it again. lol  If you try it before i do let me know how it turns out.

36 pints of Chow Chow                           (see link to original post at the bottom)

Tomato Chow-chow

2 quarts (8 cups) ground green tomatoes (about 5-6 lbs.)
3 large onions
3 red peppers
4 green peppers
1 to 3 small hot peppers
3 cups white vinegar
4 cups sugar (sometimes I cut it to 3 1/2 cups)
2 TBSP whole mustard seed
1 TBSP celery seed
2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 TBSP salt


  1. Wash the tomatoes and cut out all bad spots. (And of course save all the trimmings for your compost pile.) Cut in small chunks and pulse 3 or 4 times in a food processor then let it run for 15 -20 seconds or until the tomatoes are reduced to a small mince.  Think of how small the bits are in relish. That is what you are aiming for. Only put in approximately 2 cups of tomato chunks at a time so they will be evenly chopped.  You can use one of the old fashioned (or new) food grinders if you prefer.  The hand crank method is fun but takes a LOT longer.
  2. Cut and process the onions and peppers the same way. Make sure to remove the seeds from the peppers.
  3. Wash 1 dozen pint size canning jars, lids and rings in hot soapy water. Rinse thoroughly.
  4. Place the jars on a damp dish towel (one that you don’t mind getting discolored) on a baking sheet and place in the oven preheated to 200˚F.  This will assure that the jars are sterilized.  Leave them in this very slow oven until the chow-chow is finished cooking.
  5. Place the lids and rings in a large pot covered with water and keep at 180˚F until ready to use. Do NOT boil this water. Follow the instructions on the lid package if they are different from this.
  6. In a LARGE enamel basin used for making jelly, add the sugar, spices and vinegar. Set on a burner to “high” and bring this mixture to a boil, then add the tomatoes, onions and peppers.
  7. Bring to a boil, then continue boiling for 15 minutes.  You will hear a change in the sound of the boiling concoction. It will turn a darker color and the liquid will thicken a little and become more syrupy. Stir occasionally as you cook the relish and if there are any large chunks that evaded the food processor blade, fish them out so your relish will be uniform looking. Hey, I  guess you can leave the chunks in if you like, but I always get rid of them so the finished product looks pretty.
  8. Remove the jars from the oven very carefully and place near the stove top.  Place a wide-mouth canning funnel in the top of the first jar (see photo below) and quickly ladle in the hot chow-chow.  Leave about a half inch at the top. Quickly fill all remaining jars. You may not have enough to fill all 12 jars depending on how juicy the tomatoes were. If there is not enough to fill the last jar to the top, that’s okay. Just stick it in the refrigerator after it cools and use it first.
  9. As soon as you have filled all the jars, take a piece of paper towel and rubber band it to a fork. Dip this into the hot water with the lids and rings. Use this to wipe the inside edges and top rims of the jars.  You must do this quickly and very carefully.  The idea is to get all little drips of juice off the jars’ rims so the lid will seal properly.  (This is how Aunt Ruth taught me to do it.  You may have your own technique.)
  10. Use a pair of metal tongs to retrieve the lids from the pot of hot water. Place a lid on a jar and then fish out a ring and put it in place. The lids and jars are piping hot so be careful when you screw them down. Use a pot holder or a kitchen towel. Tighten just a bit at first. Then put a lid and ring on the next jar, tighten slightly and then go to the next jar until all jars have lids and rings.
  11. Go back to the jars and tighten them again until they are very firm.  They are still hot, so be careful.  As the jars cool, the little bulge in the top of the lid will pop down and be indented instead of poking up. Sometimes you will even hear a popping sound.  This means the jar is sealed properly.
  12. Leave the jars on the counter to cool completely. Make sure the lids are tight. Then wash the jars with a damp towel.

(original recipe & pictures @ http://organicgardening365.com/how-to-make-green-tomato-chow-chow-aunt-adas-famous-recipe/)

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