October 13, 2006

Chow Chow Pickle Relish

We went to Lena's Market, further into the 'hood, to take advantage of their cheap cuts of meat, and a special on jars of hot Southern chow-chow relish caught my eye. I almost bought one, till I looked at the label and noted that the prime ingredient was green tomatoes. I'm more accustomed to Iowa chow-chow, made with corn. The recent frost had just brought in the green tomato harvest - my friends who grow them to harvest after they degrade to red give me whatever is left on the vine.

Quantities are based on what I had on hand. I used three red onions and three yellow ones, for a touch of color, but in any case you want to use sharp ones rather than sweet. The cabbage was a white one. We've been adding two tablespoons of sriracha to almost every recipe lately. It adds warmth and interest that proportionately smaller amounts of ordinary hot sauce doesn't. If the goal was a hot relish I would have added a few chopped hot peppers to the veggie mix, and mixed real well to avoid heat concentration.

6 medium onions - chopped
1 medium head cabbage -chopped
14 green tomatoes - chopped
4 green bell peppers - seeded, deveined and chopped
2 red bell peppers - seeded, deveined and chopped
1/2 cup salt
1 tbsp celery seed
2 tbsp mustard seed
1 1/2 tsp tumeric
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp sriracha sauce
2 cups cider vinegar
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water
4 cups sugar

Combine the chopped vegetables in a large non-reactive pot, and let sit overnight. Drain off all the resultant brine. This makes the relish much crisper.

Combine the remaining ingredients in a second large non-reactive pot, and simmer until the sugar is fully dissolved. Stir in the chopped vegetables, bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for another ten minutes. Pour into warm, sterilized canning jars and can per your best practice. One of the chow-chow recipes I found while working this up suggested just turning the jars over so the contents heat the lids. I suppose that may be genuine and old-time, but I would always advise at least a boiling water bath if not a pressure canner.

Posted by triticale at October 13, 2006 10:24 AM | TrackBack