Monday, July 18, 2011

Making Chow Chow

The origins of chow chow is somewhat debated but basically it was a way to preserve the vegetables at end of the growing season. It's a pickled relish made from a combination of many vegetables. It can include a variety of vegetables such as cucumber, peppers, celery, corn, lima beans, carrots, peppers, onions...etc.  Chow chow can be eaten by itself or as a condiment on hot dogs and hamburgers, with mashed potatoes or pinto beans. This recipe is an old Pennsylvanian Dutch chow chow. It's mustard based and contains a variety of summer vegetables. Southern style chow chows are similar but usually contain spicy peppers, green tomatoes, and cabbage or cauliflower. You could really add almost any vegetable to the mix.

Chow Chow

1 quart cucumber, diced
1 quart Lima beans
1 quart green beans, cut into pieces
1 quart sweet corn
1 pint green pepper, diced
1 pint red pepper, diced
1 pint celery, diced
1 cup onion, diced
1 Tablespoon dry mustard
2 cups sugar
4 cups vinegar

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook all the vegetables separately, about 3 minutes each, until tender but not soft. Drain cooked vegetables and mix together. In a large pot, combine the, sugar, vinegar, and mustard. Bring to a boil. Add all the vegetables and bring to a boil. Put immediately  into hot mason jars and seal.

Put the hot chow chow into hot quart or pint jars. It's best to wash them in the dishwasher and dry on high heat. Leave them in the dishwasher until ready to use. Make sure your jars have no nicks on the rims and the jars are not cracked. They cannot seal if the rim is nicked. Cracked jars should be discarded. In a small pot or skillet, add about an inch of water. Place the lids for the jars in the water and bring to a boil. Leave them in the hot water until ready to use.

After the jar is filled to about a 1/2 an inch from the top, using a clean damp cloth, wipe the top rim of the jar. If there is anything on the rim of the jar it will not make a tight seal.

Take a lid from the hot water and place it on the top of your filled jar.

Add the ring to the top of the jars and tighten as tight as you can get them. Be careful as you tighten the jars. You may have to wear an oven mitt or use a dish towel when you do this as the jars will be very hot.

Your jars should begin sealing within 30 minutes or so as they cool down. You should hear a popping sound to indicate that they are sealing. The jars are sealed when the "button" on the tops of the lids are flat. If they do not flatten, your jar is not sealed and you must either process the unsealed jar in a hot water bath or keep the jar in the refrigerator. 

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