Chow Chow Green Tomato Relish

Chow Chow Green Tomato Relish

The Spruce

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Marinate Time: 4 hrs
Total: 5 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 64 servings

Also known as chow-chow or piccalilli, this green tomato relish is a Southern favorite, and it's great with sausages, pork, ham, hot dogs, and burgers.

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. In the South, it's often served with pinto beans and ham.


Click Play to See This Chow Chow Green Tomato Relish Recipe Come Together


  • 5 cups coarsely chopped green tomatoes

  • 5 cups coarsely chopped cabbage

  • 1 1/2 cupsfinely chopped yellow or sweet onion

  • 2 cups coarsely chopped bell pepper; at least 1 red bell pepper for color

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1/3 cup pickling and canning salt

  • 2 1/2 cups cider vinegar

  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon celery seed

  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Chow chow relish ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Combine the chopped vegetables in a large nonreactive kettle or bowl.

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

    Salt added to vegetables in bowl
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  4. 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 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.

    Jars and lids being prepared for canning
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  5. Drain the vegetables and rinse thoroughly.

    Chopped vegetables being rinsed
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  6. In a large nonreactive kettle, bring the vinegar, brown sugar, and celery and yellow mustard seeds, and red pepper flakes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering for 5 minutes.

    Vinegar, brown sugar, and seeds and spices in pan
    The Spruce
  7. Add the drained vegetables and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.

    Chopped vegetables in pan
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  8. With a slotted spoon, pack the vegetables into prepared jars. Cover vegetables with the pickling liquid, leaving approximately 1/4-inch headspace.

  9. 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.

  10. Check for seals (the middle of the caps should have made a popping sound while cooling and will stay depressed.)

    Chow chow relish
    The Spruce 


  • This is an excellent way to use end-of-the-season green tomatoes.
  • This relish makes a great homemade gift during the holidays.

How to use chow chow?

Chow chow relish is a wonderful addition to any barbecue: use it on hotdogs, hamburgers, and pulled pork or chicken. It is also great on everything from beans, nachos, and chili.

What is the difference between chow chow vs. piccalilli?

Chow chow and piccalilli are often mistaken for each other, yet although similar, they are slightly different. Picalilli relish simply has more vegetables in it than chow chow relish—that's the main difference between these two relishes.