Homemade Chow-Chow Relish

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Canning Jars

This recipe calls for a  box of brown sugar. That is the only way you could get brown sugar years ago so a lot of older recipes are written this way. A box of brown sugar is 1 pound, 16 oz. or 2 1/3 cups.


Chow-Chow Relish

1 medium cabbage
4 medium onions
3 green peppers
2 red or hot peppers (I used red)
3 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. mustard seed
1 Tbsp. turmeric
5 medium tomatoes (not quite ripe)
2 cups cider vinegar
1 box brown sugar

Wash 9-10 pint jars in hot soapy water. Sterilize jars by boiling in water for 10 minutes. Keep jars hot until ready to fill. Using a food processor, grind all the ingredients except tomatoes, vinegar and brown sugar. Chop tomatoes by hand. Mix all ingredients (except the vinegar and sugar). Let stand for 30 minutes and strain excess water if necessary. In a large pot, add vegetables, 2 cups cider vinegar and 1 box of brown sugar. Cook until mixture boils. Place in jars and process for 30 minutes in a boiling water bath. Note: Makes 9-10 pints, and is absolutely fabulous on hot dogs!!


photo by:spin spin


    • Crystal says

      I remember chow chow we put it on blakceyed peas or purple hull peas but don’t remember cabbage being in it.

      • says

        Chow chow is one of those recipes like so many years ago where they had basic ingredients but usually each cook had her own special recipe or often it was made with what happened to be on hand.

  1. erika fast says

    how much is a box of brown sugar? in canada sizes can vary wildly. looking forward to trying this out. really enjoy this site for all the info. thanks

  2. jill says

    You use to could only get brown sugar in a box so that is why many old recipes have this and even many women of my generation still use boxes of brown or powdered sugar. 1 box of brown sugar is 1 pound, 16 oz. or 2 1/3 cups.

    Good question because I buy it by in the bag too so have to always do some figuring. Hopes this helps.


  3. nona says

    I love this stuff, but is there anyway that you can just make it without canning it or just in smaller bunches? I would love to know, since I am single and don’t have any need for that much.
    I love reading Living on a Dime, I have found some very helpful ideas and there are alot of recipes that brings back memories of my younger days…Keep up the good work!

    • says

      Nona, you can take the recipe and divide it in half or fourths what ever amount you think you can use and then store it in the fridge instead of canning it. Because of the vinegar(acid base) etc. it will keep for a long time the same way you can keep an open jar of pickles in the fridge for a long time.

      Now I know it may seem hard to divide it into fourths – for example 3 green peppers – but this recipe isn’t exact and you could use 1 green pepper. You can see it isn’t exact too because some people will use 3 large green peppers and others will use 3 medium ones so you can adjust it according to what you have or how you need too.

  4. rose says

    is it sweet with the brown sugar in it ? .. just curious ..
    it looks deliciious .. altho i have never tried this b4 .. i do like cabbage, onions and peppers .. and even at the same time (esp when i make italian sausage, with or without on the hoagie roll) ..
    thanks for sharing 😀

    • says

      Rose it is one of those recipes that is kind of a sweet/sour taste combined or like a salsa. Many salsas have brown sugar or some sweet in them they just use different veggies from this. Also I haven’t done it but I am pretty sure you could adjust the amount of brown sugar to your own taste too.

      This is one of those old recipes that you more or less threw what you had into it and called it chow chow.

  5. Nikki says

    I use a recipe I inherited from my grandmother. It uses grated zucchini instead of cabbage and no tomatoes. It is so good. I use it on cornbread and beans (pinto)and on hotdogs. This is the only way I use zucchini. I beg really big ones from friends who grow it.

  6. Maggie says

    My dad loved Chow-Chow. When we were growing up, dad worked long hours so my mom did the gardening and cooking and the canning. But years later, they divorced and my dad remarried. His new wife did not garden nor do any canning. So dad learned how and he began to make his own chow-chow. I was never a real fan of it but just couldn’t resist his gift of a jar of it whenever we went to visit. My husband began to like it but never ate enough for me to make it. Maybe it’s my turn to try this recipe. :)

  7. Liz says

    Did you know that if you freeze brown sugar overnight, you can take it out and it will never get hard? Try it and then put it on your website. No more brown sugar bricks.

  8. Jamie Lynn says

    I’m new to this but my dad loves it! I was just wondering what u meant by processing it in the jars at the end. I have no knowledge of canning or chow chow but I really want to learn and get this right for Daddy.

    • says

      Here is a link to one of many things on the internet on canning. If at first you don’t want to buy the equipment or are a little unsure of how to do it cut the recipe in half and it will stay fine in the fridge for 2-3 weeks without the canning or processing step. If you do decide to can them but aren’t sure this is something you want to do, try making up a few jars and use a regular dutch oven (or the largest pan in your pan set) instead of investing in a canning pot and all. You may need to buy something to lift the jars out of the pot. Everything you need can be bought at Walmart or for places that don’t have a Walmart many hardware stores carry canning supplies. The place I recommend most though is to get your things at a thrift store or garage sale. You can find them quite often there because many people get excited about canning, buy all the equipment and find out it is quite a bit of work so then get rid of their stuff and it is almost like new.

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