Classic Chow Chow: Green Tomato Relish

Chow Chow Green Tomato Relish

The Spruce

Ratings (117)
  • Total: 80 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4 pints (about 64 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
23 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
0g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 pints (about 64 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 23
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 601mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Protein 0g
Calcium 11mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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.

Chow chow relish ingredients
The Spruce

 

Ingredients

  • 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)

Steps to Make It

  1. Combine the chopped vegetables in a large nonreactive kettle or bowl.

    Combine vegetables for chow chow relish in bowl
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  2. Add the salt and stir to combine thoroughly. Cover and let stand for 4 hours or refrigerate overnight.

    Add salt to vegetables in bowl
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  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.

    Prepare canner and jars for chow chow relish
    The Spruce
  4. Drain the vegetables and rinse thoroughly.

    Drain vegetables for relish
    The Spruce
  5. 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.

    Bring the vinegar, brown sugar, and seeds and spices to a boil
    The Spruce
  6. Add the drained vegetables and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

    Add vegetables and boil
    The Spruce
  7. With a slotted spoon, pack the vegetables into prepared jars. Cover vegetables with the pickling liquid, leaving approximately 1/4-inch headspace.

  8. 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.

    Chow chow relish
    The Spruce 
  9. Check for seals (the middle of the caps should have made a popping sound while cooling and will stay depressed.)