How to Make & Can Southern Chow Chow - Fun & Frugal Recipe

Today, I'm going to show you how to can Southern Chow Chow. Chow Chow is a fantastic relish you can use on soup, beans, and cornbread. All Chow Chow consists of is whatever veggies you have extra from your garden, then you make it into a relish.

My Chow Chow recipe:

  • 16 cups of finely diced veggies
  • 3 cups of vinegar
  • 3 cups of sugar
  • 1 TBS garlic powder
  • 1 TBS yellow mustard
  • 1 TBS yellow mustard Seed
  • 2 ts celery seed
  • 1 ts ground ginger
  • 1 ts turmeric 
  • 1 ts allspice
Chopping up vegetables

1. Chop the veggies

You're going to need 16 cups of finely chopped veggies. You could use a food processor or hand chop everything with a sharp knife. I'm using cabbage, green tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and zucchini from my garden. Place the chopped veggies in a very large bowl.

2. Add pickling salt

You also want to gather some canning pickling salt, safe for canning. Place two big heaping tablespoons on top of all the veggies, then mix it up with your hands to ensure the salt is mixed in.

3. Place in fridge

Get some plastic wrap and put the plastic wrap on top of the bowl. Place the bowl in the refrigerator overnight. Forget about it until tomorrow. 

Canning Southern chow chow

4. Add vinegar

Put a little vinegar in your canner to keep the jars from getting white residue on the outside. Add one more jar than you'll need for canning. Place the lid on the canner and start heating it. 

5. Wash the jars

Next, wash your jars. Put one to two inches of water in your jars, so they don't float away when you set them on your rack. Let the water start boiling so the jars can get sanitized. After the water starts boiling, let them boil in the canner for 15 minutes. Turn off the stove burner.

6. Drain the veggies

The veggies are soaked in the refrigerator overnight to let them soak in all the salt. It created a lot of juice, so you need to drain all of the water. Do not rinse it off. Just drain the water. 

7. Toast celery and mustard seed

Toast a tablespoon of yellow mustard seed and one teaspoon of celery seeds in a large, hot pot. Do not add anything to the pot; just stir the seeds to toast them. It takes about a minute.

How to make Southern Chow Chow

8. Add vinegar and spices

Next, you'll need to add 3 cups of white vinegar to the pot with the toasted seeds. Then add half a teaspoon of ground ginger and one teaspoon of ground turmeric. Add one teaspoon of ground allspice and one teaspoon to one tablespoon of garlic powder (depending on your taste). Add a tablespoon of yellow mustard (the condiment). Add 3 cups of granulated white sugar. 

9. Simmer the spices

Now, you want to let this come to a rolling boil. Once it comes to a rolling boil; turn it down and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes.  

10. Add the veggies

Once the spices are simmered, add the veggies. Mix well and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

Decanting the Chow Chow into jars

11. Place in jars

Once the veggies are done simmering in the spice mixture, pull the hot jars out of the water bath canner. Get everything you need ready. 

Get chopsticks, a funnel, a slotted ladle, grabber, and a bowl of vinegar. Get it ready so you won't be trying to find it as you're canning.

First, you're going to ladle in the veggies. After you ladle in the veggies to a half-inch headspace, fill it up with the liquid from the pot.

Clean the rims of the filled jar with white vinegar to ensure a good seal. Start adding your lids and your rings. Make sure to wash your lids and rings before you do this. Tighten the rings.

12. Return to the canner

Place the filled jars back into the canner. Use your grabber because the jars are hot. Turn on the stove burner. Drop the rack filled with jars into the water when it starts boiling. Boil for 15 minutes for pints and 20 minutes for quart jars.  

Letting the Chow Chow cool

13. Let cool

Once the Chow Chow is done processing for 15-20 minutes, lift the rack and remove the jars with the grabber. Be careful; they are very hot.

Leave the jars sitting on the counter for 12 to 24 hours, and don't touch them so they can rest and relax. 

The shelf life of canned foods is at least 18 months, but they can last years as long as the seal has not been broken. When you open it up, smell it. If it smells good, it's probably good. I have things that I opened this year from five years ago, and it was good. 18 months is just a recommendation. 

Once the jars are set for 12 to 24 hours, test the seal. To try it, press the button in the middle. If it pops up and down, it's not sealed. Do not store your jars with the rings on. This can cause rust which can cause the seal to break, and sometimes will reseal but not until bacteria has gotten in the jar.

Southern Chow Chow in a jar

The second test is to remove the ring and then pick the jar up by the flat edges of the lid. If it stays on, it's sealed.

Southern Chow Chow recipe

Chow Chow is your garden leftovers that you don't know what to make with. This one is not hot or spicy, so if you want hot or spicy Chow Chow, add jalapeños.

Chow Chow is great in soup, beans, cornbread, potato salad, chicken 

salad, and pasta salad. It has many uses, but my favorite is with cornbread.  

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