Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chow Chow

Chow-Chow relish is one of those things I think of as being distinctively American, or Amish anyway. As with so many pickles of this sort, there are as many recipes as there are cooks. I use very thinly sliced carrots in mine, but omit the red pepper. Some people use celery, I use celery seed. The thing that really distinguishes chow-chow from corn relish is the cabbage. Otherwise, I don't see that much difference in the two save for some possible tweaking of the spices.

The basic recipe I use comes from the Ball Blue Book. Because it is a high acid food from the vinegar, it can go through a water bath canner. I halved the recipe and am storing it in the fridge (we'll use it without any problem). I'll post the large batch with instructions for canning, but bear in mind when canning, it wouldn't make sense to halve the recipe-if you're going to sterilise jars and run a canner, you might as welll make the full batch. Additionally, I'm not sure the proportions of vinegar would be adequate for canning at half.

I did not use tomatoes in mine as I don't think they add much to the relish. I like tomatoes, but not in this. Some people (in Pennsylvania anyway) will turn up their noses at this omission, and perhaps they are correct-but I still don't want tomatoes in my chow chow. That's the privilege of being an old lady-you can make your chow chow any darn way you like.

You Will Need:

1 quart chopped cabbage
3 cups chopped green tomatoes
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped scallions
1 cup finely sliced carrots
2 cups freshly cut corn
1 cup chopped red bell peppers
3 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon mustard seed (I used brown)
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 1/2 cups cider vinegar

Combine vegetables, and sprinkle with salt. Let stand 4-6 hours. Drain well, rinse and drain. Combine sugar, spices, and vinegar in a large pot. Simmer 10 minutes. Add vegetables and simmer 10 minutes. Bring to a boil. pack hot relish into hot sterilised jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace. remove air bubbles, wipe threads, and seal. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner. Makes about 4 pints.

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