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Chow Chow Relish for #SundaySupper

Southern Chow Chow Relish | Magnolia Days

Summer will soon come to an end. A once bountiful garden will struggle to produce. The shorter days and cooler nights take a toll on fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes stop turning from green to red. Pepper plants are not a vigorous as they were only a few weeks earlier. It is this time of the season when using up the final harvest brings about creativity. Once such recipe born out of a creative collective of Southern folks is Chow Chow Relish.

Canning is something I have yet to tackle. However, my parents canned for years and years. So this is a guest post of sorts with the recipe coming from my mom. The chow chow relish they canned is in the photo. I had a few conversations with mom to go over the steps. I’ll check with her if any questions arise. Preserving family recipes is very important and I can’t think of a better place to save and share it than right here on this blog.

Chow Chow Relish | Magnolia Days

What to do with chow chow relish? Use it anywhere you would a pickle relish. It is a sweet/hot condiment that has a surprising depth of flavor. Plus you can change it up to your taste or use other vegetables in the mix. Southerners will serve it with black-eyed peas, pinto beans, and cornbread. It is incredible with cornmeal dusted pan-fried trout or catfish.

Chow Chow Relish | Magnolia Days

How do you preserve your harvest? To this point my only method has been freezing. I do want to tackle canning one day. Dehydrating is also on the to-do list. At least I have a resource for some great recipes thanks to this Sunday Supper event hosted by Heather at Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks. Scroll down to see the recipe list. Click on the links to visit and read about each one. Enjoy your summer and preserve the goodness for the winter to come!

Chow Chow Relish

A recipe for chow chow relish. Chow Chow is made with green tomatoes, cabbage, onion, peppers, and spices including turmeric, mustard, and allspice.
Course Condiment
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes
Servings 15 pints
Author Renee


  • 4 quarts green tomatoes from 3/4 peck basket, about 10 pounds
  • 6 cups chopped onions about 3 1/2 pounds
  • 1 medium-large cabbage
  • 2 quarts chopped bell pepper green & 1 red, about 14 large
  • 4 hot banana peppers
  • 3 cayenne peppers
  • 1/2 cup salt
  • 8 cups apple cider vinegar 5% acidity
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground mustard
  • 3 tablespoons mustard seed
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons allspice


  1. Finely chop all the vegetables in batches in a food processor fitted with a knife blade.
  2. Mix chopped vegetables together in a very large non-reactive container. Sprinkle 1/2 cup salt over and let set at least 4 to 5 hours or overnight.
  3. Drain the vegetables and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  4. In large boiler, mix apple cider vinegar and sugar.
  5. Combine the ground mustard, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, and allspice in a spice bag. Add the spice bag to the liquids.
  6. Bring to boil then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  7. Add the drained vegetables and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
  8. Pack the chow chow mix while it's hot into sterililzed pint canning jars. Use caution while working with the hot mix and jars. Leave about a 1/4 to 1/2 inch head space in each jar. Wipe the mouth of the canning jar clean and seal the jar with canning lid and rings. Lids should properly seal and make a popping sound while cooling. The seals are good if they stay depressed in the middle.

Recipe Notes

A recipe for chow chow relish. Chow Chow is made with green tomatoes, cabbage, onion, peppers, and spices including turmeric, mustard, and allspice.

Chow Chow is a classic southern relish made with green tomatoes, onions, cabbage, and peppers. Make it and use it as a topping for seafood, beans, hot dogs, and more.

Ready to preserve your harvest? Check out these recipes by talented Sunday Supper bloggers:

Cool Condiments:

Fabulous Fruits:

Other Outstanding Recipes:

Vivacious Vegetables:

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Recipe Rating

Kim | a little lunch

Thursday 18th of July 2013

Every element of deliciousness is in your parents' chow chow recipe... hot, sweet, savory... yum. Wish I hadn't given away my canning set when we moved, but I'll make do. (Isn't that the hallmark of the South?!) Thanks.


Tuesday 23rd of July 2013

Yes, making do with what you have is a true hallmark of the south.

Laura | Small Wallet, Big Appetite

Wednesday 17th of July 2013

You know I remember seeing this when we lived in Texas but never tried it. If I end up with as many green tomatoes as I did last year I think I need to give this a try.


Thursday 18th of July 2013

It's such a great relish Laura. I hope you do give it a try.


Monday 15th of July 2013

What a lovely recipe! i've never heard of it before, but I love the heat and spice in it! We don't really have green tomatoes over here - would red ones do?!


Monday 15th of July 2013

I've never heard of chow chow being made with red tomatoes. I think it may be too acidic at that point. I would stick with green tomatoes.

Family Foodie

Monday 15th of July 2013

I love everything about this... especially that it has some heat! Putting that on top of a piece of trout sounds delish!


Monday 15th of July 2013

You would love it Isabel. It's so good on seafood.


Monday 15th of July 2013

I haven't had chow chow in years. My grandmother made it every year and this post brought back so many memories! It's great on so many things! Thanks for a great post!


Monday 15th of July 2013

Thank you Bill and I'm glad I helped to bring back memories of your grandmother and her chow chow.