Wow-Wow Chow-Chow

YIELD: 7 pints


  • 1 14
    lbs cabbage, cored & cut into chunks (early pointy head good)
  • 4
    cucumbers, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces (medium)
  • 2
    red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 2
    orange bell peppers, stemmed, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 1 12
    lbs tomatillos, husked, hulled and cut into chunks
  • 1 12
    lbs tomatoes, cored and cut into chunks
  • 1
    cup red pepper, roasted & drained
  • 2
    Thai chiles, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • For the brine
  • 4
    cups salt
  • 5
    gallons water
  • For the syrup
  • 3
    cups sugar
  • 12
    teaspoon turmeric
  • 1
    teaspoon cumin seed
  • 12
    teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 12
    teaspoon allspice, ground
  • 1
    tablespoon hot pepper sauce, such as Tabasco


  • For the vegetables: Working in small, separate batches, pulse the vegetables in a food processor quickly several times just until they are chopped but not mushy. Transfer to a bowl as you go.
  • For the brine: Dissolve the salt in the water in a very large nonreactive container, such as a Lexan container or a clean bucket. Add the chopped vegetables to the brine. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • To prepare for canning: Wash 7 pint jars, their new lids and bands in hot soapy water (180 degrees); rinse well. Dry the bands; set aside. Sterilize the jars by boiling for 10 minutes. Heat the lids and bands in a saucepan of hot water, keeping them hot until ready to use. Do not boil the lids.
  • Fill the canner halfway with water. Preheat the water (140 degrees for raw-packed foods, 180 degrees for hot-packed foods) over medium heat.
  • Drain the vegetables, discarding the brine, and place them in a large, nonreactive pot. Add the vinegar, sugar, spices and hot sauce, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, uncovered, for 1 hour. Fill the sterilized, still hot, pint-size jars with the chow-chow. Use a fork to guide a bay leaf down the inside of each jar, if using.
  • Use a nonreactive spatula or chopsticks to remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims and necks of the jars with a clean damp cloth. Center a heated lid on each of the jars. Screw the bands on evenly and loosely until a point of resistance is met (fingertip tight). Load the filled jars, fitted with lids, into the canner rack and use the handles to lower the rack into the water; or fill the canner, 1 jar at a time, with a jar lifter. Increase the heat to high until the water boils. Set the timer for 15 minutes. Add hot water as needed to keep the water level at least 1 inch above the jars. Adjust the heat as needed to maintain a gentle boil.
  • When the processing is complete, transfer the jars from the canner to sit upright on a clean dish towel to cool; do not retighten the bands. Let the jars cool on the towel for 12 to 24 hours.
  • When the jars are cool, test for a good seal by pressing the center of each lid. If the lid does not flex up and down, it is sealed. Label and store the jars in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate after opening.