How To Make Spicy Green Tomato Chow Chow

If you’re from the South, you may already know how to make Spicy Green Tomato Chow Chow. If you aren’t, you might not even know what it is. This zesty relish is a combination of green tomatoes and a variety of peppers, all preserved in pickling liquid. Many people make Spicy Green Tomato Chow Chow in a large batch and then preserve it in jars. The recipe below yields about seven pints of this delicious condiment, so you should have enough to use all year long–with a jar or two left to share with friends if you find yourself overtaken with Southern hospitality.

Ingredients for Spicy Green Tomato Chow Chow:

  • 3 cups white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 3 Tbsp. pickling spice
  • 3 1/2 lbs. (about 12) green tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 3 peppers) chopped green bell peppers
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 3 peppers) chopped red bell peppers
  • 2 1/2 cups (about 3 peppers) chopped yellow peppers
  • 3 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup (about 8 peppers) chopped fresh jalapenos
  • A non-reactive saucepan
  • A strainer
  • A bowl
  • A food processor
  • A large stock pot
  • 7 1-pint preserving jars with lids
  • Tongs
  • A clean dishtowel
  1. Start by preparing the pickling liquid. Combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pickling spice in a saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let the liquid simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the stove and strain the liquid into a bowl, throwing out any solids. Transfer the pickling liquid back to the saucepan and set it aside.
  2. Use a food processor to prepare the vegetables. Start with the tomatoes, pulsing them about ten times until they’re finely chopped but not pureed. Transfer the tomatoes to the saucepan containing the pickling liquid. Working in batches, pulse the peppers, onions, and jalapenos in the processor until they’re finely chopped but not pureed, moving each ingredient to make Spicy Green Tomato Chow Chow to the saucepan as it’s ready. When all of the ingredients have been added, place the pan over high heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for twenty minutes.
  3. Prepare the hot water bath to process your jars while the Chow Chow simmers. Get a very large pot and fill it with water. Put it over high heat and let the water come to a rolling boil. Place your jars and lids into the pot and boil them for at least fifteen minutes. Remove the jars and lids with tongs, placing them on a clean towel to drip dry. Keep the water boiling.
  4. Preserve it in canning jars. Remove the saucepan from the stove and spoon the chow chow into the sterilized jars, leaving a ¼ inch space at the top. Wipe the rims and place the lids on top of the jars, screwing on the metal ring. Gently place the jars back into the boiling pot of water and process them for 15 minutes. Use tongs to remove the jars, and leave them on a clean towel to cool. Check the lids to make sure each one has properly sealed, then put your Spicy Green Tomato Chow Chow in a cool dark place for two weeks to age.  

Once you make Spicy Green Tomato Chow Chow, you can use it regularly. In the South, it’s often served with pinto beans or black eyed peas. You can also serve it on hot dogs or add it to omelets, mix it in to tuna salad or rice, or even use it as a side dish like coleslaw. Be creative, and you’re sure to find your own favorite use for Spicy Green Tomato Chow Chow.

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