Green Tomato Relish – Chow Chow – Revisited

Fall will soon be upon us. Our gardens may be filled with green tomato’s. You can always use some of them up by serving up fried green tomato’s. Still you may want to consider making Chow Chow {green tomato relish}.

This comes from my great grand mother’s recipe note book. She had little formal education and her hand written notes are at best a bit cryptic. Sometimes she used terms, plants, herbs and spices that we are not sure just what she was talking about. I’m sure many of them are wild plants that she harvested and used in feeding a husband and 9 hungry kids.

She was born in Mississippi in 1870. She traveled to Texas by wagon in 1889. She always complained that it took the better part of one summer to travel from Mississippi to Texas, and that she walked all the way. Not sure but I’ll bet she rode part of the time.
All of her families possessions were in that one small wagon to include her pride possession her wood burning cook stove.
She cooked on that stove until the kids, grand kids and great grand kids remodeled her kitchen in the late 1950’s.

I get side tracked at times.
Back to my recipe problem. The best we {all of us kids, when I say kids – I’m the oldest and I’m 65} can tell this is her Green Tomato Chow Chow recipe. Those of you not from the south, chow chow is a name used in association with sweet green tomato based relish.

1 peck green tomatoes about {12 or 15 pounds}
5 lbs. strong yellow onions {don’t use those taste less sweet white onions}
1 large head of cabbage chopped
5 lbs. sugar
5 red hot chili peppers {you need at least 3 of these and more if you like your chow chow hot and spicy}
2 cups chopped sweet green bell peppers (about 4) {I like more as many as 6}
2 cups chopped sweet red bell peppers (about 4) {add 6 if you like the red bell peppers}
1 cup pepper weed seed {no one seems to knows what this is so it is omitted from our chow chow} Maybe it’s something that grew wild in Mississippi.
2 or 3 tablespoons mustard seed
1 tablespoon turmeric
3 tablespoons celery seed
1 package of pickling spices
About 1 qt. of cider vinegar

Chop all vegetables; combine in a large kettle. Stir in salt; let stand at room temperature overnight, or at least 8 hours. Drain.

Slice or dice tomatoes and sprinkle with 1 cup salt, place them in a clean old white pillowcase and hang them from a close line pole over night. {This will remove most of the green tomato juice from your bag of sliced green tomato’s} I’ll bet wrapping your sliced tomato’s in cheese cloth would work just as well.

In the morning rinse and drain once. Using a meat grinder, {or course chop by hand} coarse grind tomatoes, onions, peppers. In a large pot, add sugar and spices or {wrap spices in a cheesecloth} and add to mixture. Add enough vinegar to almost cover. Cook uncovered over a very low fire for 4 hours.

Using juices from tomatoes and onions. Fill hot sterilized canning jars to 1/2 inch from the top process in water bath and seal. Makes 8 to 10 pints.
Note: Sterilize jars in a boiling water bath insuring jars are completely covered with water.

9 responses to “Green Tomato Relish – Chow Chow – Revisited

  1. Wow! That’s some more recipe. Similar to my grandmother’s except for the cabbage and the hot peppers. I like them, but she never included them. About the pepper weed seeds, I wonder if she was referring to this plant:
    This is from the Everglades, so it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume the same weed grows in Mississippi.

    Thanks for your work! Nicely done.


  2. Do you s’pose your great-grandmother meant peppercorns when she wrote “pepper weed seed”? They wouldn’t be uncommon in pickles and relishes. Just a thought.


  3. This one very well made post i must say.


    • Thank you for visiting my humble little blog.
      I hope to hear that your Olive harvest goes well this year.
      I will try to connect to one of your web cameras during day time hours.

      Thanks for your visit


  4. Nice post keep the good work.


  5. You’re welcome. I’m very curious to see how your small house is coming along.


  6. I don’t even remember how I wound up here but I just hit the last (first) post on your blog. Great info and very interesting too.


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