Classic Chow Chow: Green Tomato Relish

Chow Chow Green Tomato Relish

The Spruce

  • 80 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 pints (about 64 servings)
Ratings (108)

Also known as chow-chow or piccalilli, this green tomato relish is a Southern favorite, and it's great with sausages, pork, and ham, or serve it with hot dogs or burgers. It's also an excellent way to use end-of-the-season green tomatoes.

The relish is a combination of chopped green tomatoes, cabbage, onions, and peppers. The vegetables are brought together with a mixture of vinegar, brown sugar, and seasonings. 

What You'll Need

  • 5 cups green tomatoes (about 5 tomatoes, coarsely chopped)
  • 5 cups cabbage (about 1 1/2 pounds cabbage, coarsely chopped)
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow onion (or sweet onion, finely chopped)
  • 2 cups bell pepper (coarsely chopped; at least 1 red for color; about 4 peppers)
  • 1/3 cup pickling and canning 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
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (or to taste)

How to Make It

  1. Combine the chopped vegetables in a large nonreactive kettle or bowl.
  2. Add the salt and stir to combine thoroughly. Cover and let stand for 4 hours or refrigerate overnight.
  3. Prepare the canner and jars. Add water to a large canning kettle with rack and heat to a boil; reduce heat and keep at a simmer. The water should be high enough to be at least 1 inch above the filled jars. I usually fill it about halfway, and I keep a kettle or saucepan of water boiling on another burner to add to the canning kettle as needed. Wash jars thoroughly and heat water in a small saucepan; put the lids in the saucepan and bring almost to the boil; lower heat to very low to keep the lids hot.
  1. Drain the vegetables and rinse thoroughly.
  2. In a large nonreactive kettle, bring the vinegar, brown sugar, and seeds and spices to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the drained vegetables and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. With a slotted spoon, pack the vegetables into prepared jars. Cover vegetables with the pickling liquid, leaving approximately 1/4-inch headspace.
  5. With a clean dampened cloth, wipe the rims of the jars. Place the flat lids on the jars then close caps with screw-on rings tightly, but do not over-tighten. Arrange the filled jars in the canning kettle and add more water, as needed, to be at least 1 inch above the jars. Bring to a full boil. Cover and continue boiling for 10 minutes. Remove the relish to a rack to cool completely.
  6. Check for seals (the middle of the caps should have made a popping sound while cooling and will stay depressed.)


Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 23
Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Unsaturated Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 601 mg
Carbohydrates 5 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Protein 0 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)