Recipe by Chef Porkpie
We grew a TON of tomatoes this last season. There were still blooms on the plants in November when we got our first frost. But Andy was on top of things and ran outside and plucked off all the remaining tomatoes so they wouldn't be ruined. We ended up with what seemed like an overwhelming amount of tomatoes, mostly green but some good red ones too. We decided to make Chow Chow with them. For those who don't know, it is a green tomato relish made with the final harvest vegetables, and is very popular here in Tennessee. It is most commonly used to season pinto beans or white beans, which are also very popular in the South. They are cooked with ham and everyone down here just loves them. Take a big spoonful of chow chow and put it on top of your bowl full of beans before you eat them. Since I tried my first chow chow, I can't eat beans without it. We had no idea how to make it so we pulled about a dozen recipes off the internet and just used them as a guide, incorporating our favorite aspects of each recipe into our own Chow Chow. Neither one of us had ever canned on our own before, so it was a really big deal to us! We are quite proud of our finished product. We ended up with a lot of it and gave it out as Christmas gifts to a lot of our friends.
- 2 gallons finely chopped green tomatoes (I threw in some red ones, too)
- 7 bell peppers (3 green, 2 red, 2 yellow)
- 1 head cabbage
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 bunch celery (use the whole thing, including heart with leaves, just trim off a little of the root end)
- 6 large yellow onions (maybe 8 or 9 medium ones?)
- 2 1⁄2 quarts cider vinegar
- 2 cups white sugar
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 8 fresh hot peppers (serrano, cayenne, jalapeno or Tabasco)
- 1 1⁄4 cups canning & pickling salt
- 1 (4 ounce) jar prepared horseradish
- 8 large heads of garlic, separated & peeled
- 4 tablespoons turmeric
- 3 tablespoons ground mustard
- 3 tablespoons ground allspice
- 3 tablespoons ground cloves
- 4 teaspoons ground ginger
Directions See How It's Made
- Add 1 cup of the salt to the chopped tomatoes in a very large plastic or glass bowl (must be non-reactive, not metal). Mix well & let stand overnight. This might be a good time to clean the remaining vegetables. Thoroughly wash them, removing cores and seeds from peppers, leaves & core from cauliflower and any other undesirable parts. Then thoroughly drain the water off them and store them covered in the fridge until ready to use.
- Next day: drain the tomatoes and place in a large, non-reactive stock-pot but don't turn on the heat yet. (The only one I could think of was the kind coated with enamel, so I went out an got a huge one).
- Either get out your food processor, or a nice big sharp chef's knife because you need to FINELY chop the remaining vegetables (bell peppers, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, onions, hot peppers, garlic). Add all to to the stock pot with the tomatoes.
- Add vinegar, remaining 1/4 cup salt, horseradish, spices.
- Slowly bring to a boil, and simmer about 10 minutes or until onions are getting tender.
- Pack into freshly cleaned & hot canning jars leaving 1/4 to 1/2 inch headspace (depending on jar size) place lids on and screw the rings on.
- Process in a hot water bath for 15 minutes by submerging over the tops in a deep pot of hot (almost boiling) water on the stove for 15 minutes. Remove from the pot and let cool and seal.
- My personal critique:.
- I like more onions, like say, double this amount. I'd also just as soon use 2 heads of cabbage as 1 cabbage & 1 cauliflower but that's just me. The cider vinegar could just as easily be white vinegar, and the sugar could also be all brown or all white. Obviously any changes would make a difference in flavor but not enough for me to care. And the spices, I thought some were overdone, mainly the turmeric, allspice and cloves. If I did it again I'd choose to still add them but reduce their amounts to 1/2. Conversely, I think there could be more ginger & ground mustard -- maybe double them? (Read next year's critique.) And lastly, I think we should have added ground black pepper. Many of the recipes called for it, and frankly I think we just forgot. Seems like the recipes call for about 1 tablespoon per gallon of chopped veggies. See you next year!