Old Fashioned Chow-Chow Recipe

Chow-Chow is a classic relish made with a variety of vegetables pickled in a tangy, sweet-sour brine. It’s perfect as a condiment for sandwiches, hot dogs, or served alongside meats. This old-fashioned recipe will take you back to the flavors of traditional home cooking.


  • Vegetables:
  • 1 large head of cabbage, finely chopped
  • 4 green tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 3 bell peppers (red or green), chopped
  • 2 cups green beans, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup carrots, diced
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets, chopped
  • Salt Mixture:
  • ½ cup pickling salt
  • Brine:
  • 5 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon celery seeds
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns


  1. Prepare Vegetables:
  • In a large bowl, combine all the chopped vegetables.
  • Sprinkle with pickling salt and mix well.
  • Cover and let stand overnight, or at least 8 hours, in a cool place.
  1. Drain and Rinse:
  • Drain the vegetables and rinse them thoroughly under cold running water to remove excess salt.
  • Drain well again and set aside.
  1. Prepare Brine:
  • In a large pot, combine the apple cider vinegar, sugar, mustard seeds, celery seeds, turmeric, ginger, cloves, allspice, cinnamon, and black peppercorns.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  1. Cook Vegetables:
  • Add the drained vegetables to the brine.
  • Reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but still slightly crisp.
  1. Canning:
  • Sterilize jars and lids according to standard canning procedures.
  • Carefully ladle the hot chow-chow into the prepared jars, leaving about ½-inch headspace at the top.
  • Wipe the rims clean with a damp cloth and seal with lids and rings.
  1. Process in Water Bath:
  • Process the filled jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes (adjusting for altitude if necessary).
  • Remove the jars and let them cool completely on a towel-lined countertop.
  1. Storage:
  • Check the seals once the jars are cool. Store any unsealed jars in the refrigerator and use them within a few weeks.
  • Properly sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to a year.
  1. Serve:
  • Allow the chow-chow to sit for at least 2 weeks before opening to let the flavors meld.
  • Serve as a relish with your favorite dishes.

Enjoy this tangy, flavorful old-fashioned Chow-Chow as a delightful addition to your meals!

Leave a Comment