Southern Chow Chow from the Garden

When this Northeastern Italian/Irish gal married her Southern husband , she got a proper introduction to southern food.  I went from saying, “So… you just eat the pinto beans by themselves?” and “What the heck is Chow Chow?“, to insisting on stone ground cornmeal for my homemade cornbread and singing praises for beans in a crock pot with a ham hock.

So here is my husband’s famous chow chow recipe (it’s like redneck relish), which everyone raves over.  The chopping is the hardest part, but it is SO worth it!  This recipe makes about 11-12 pints of Chow Chow.


  • 2.5 heads of cabbage, choppedCanning Southern Chow Chow
  • 2 red, orange or yellow bell peppers, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 banana peppers, chopped
  • 2.5 medium onions, chopped
  • 4 cups green tomatoes, chopped
  • 5 Jalapeno peppers (with seeds if you like it spicier)
  • 1 Habanero pepper (Will provide a little bite of spice. Can be omitted)

Canning liquid:

  • 5-6 cups of white vinegar
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 4tsp celery seed
  • 2 tsp mustard seed
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground ginger

Chow Chow peppers chow chow green tomatoes

(Make sure you have all your canning jars and pressure canner ready to go after you have chopped the vegetables.)


1. Combine ingredients for the canning liquid in a large soup pot.

2. Bring to a boil; and simmer for 10 minutes.

chow chow liquid

3. Add the vegetables to the canning liquid. Mix until all the vegetables are coated. Bring back to a boil.

chow chow mix

4. Immediately fill canning jars with chow chow. Process in a pressure canner at 11 pounds of pressure for 20 minutes. (Be sure to follow all safety procedures for pressure canning.)

chow chow liquid

5. When the steam pressure is dissipated in your pressure canner, carefully lift out the jars with tongs, and sit on a towel on the counter.  Let cool completely.  Check each jar to see that it has sealed completely. If you can push down in the lid and hear a click, it is not sealed.

6. Serve with brats, hot dogs, pinto beans, burgers, or anything you like.  My dad mixes this chow chow into Ham Salad.

Have you ever eaten Chow Chow? Have you ever made it?

What else you got?

Got apples? Make and can homemade Apple Butter

Got tomatoes? Make some homemade salsa and can it.

Got more tomatoes? Make and can homemade spaghetti sauce.

Got Peaches? Here’s how to can peaches.

Got Cucumbers? Make No-cook Refrigerator Pickles

Got more Cucumbers? Make some Dill Pickles with the Ball Canning Discovery Kit

Don’t know where to start? Read this: Getting Started with Canning — Canning Equipment Checklist

Want to learn quickly and easily? Check out the Ball Canning Discovery Kit

Don’t see your bounty here? Learn to can/ preserve just about ANYTHING!

And check out all these canning recipes from Type A Parent

About Sarah Pinnix

I'm a mom, blogger, vlogger, libertarian. I love Jesus, and my husband, too. Social Media Strategist for a Non-Profit (All statements here are solely my own)


  1. Just started canning and love it. baby steps.


    Twitter: reallifesarah

    Awesome! I added your link to the post!


  2. Love chow chow, just have a question for ya, do you know how long a jar of chow chow will keep in the fridge after being opened?


  3. Lena
    Twitter: Lenasledge

    I love chow chow. We eat it all the time on our hot dogs and polish sausages. Never made it myself, usually buy from grocery store. But now I can. Thanks for sharing.


  4. I love chow chow but i don’t know how to make it..But now i can..Thanks for sharing this wonderful post !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  5. Randal Oulton says:

    So, out of “green tomato” season, or if you used all your green tomatoes from your garden for something else, what do you reckon could be used instead — tomatillos? Or just plain ole red store tomatoes?


    Sarah Pinnix Reply:

    Randal, I think tomatillos are more acidic and different consistency, but since this recipe is pickled it may work. I would not use red tomatoes because they are too juicy and will break down too much. Let me know if you try it!


  6. Randal Oulton says:

    I did some research, and turns out that tomatillos will work fine safety wise, as they are as acidic if not more than green tomatoes.

    Another great thing about your recipe is that it omits all the salt (from the overnight salting of the cabbage.) I know people think that the salt gets washed away the next morning, but it doesn’t, through osmosis loads of it actually gets absorbed into the cabbage overnight.

    I really like that you do yours in a pressure canner. this is the first chow recipe I found being done in a pressure canner. I’m gonna do mine that way, I prefer it ’cause then I can stack without worrying about water bath weight on my (stupd) glass top stove.

    Did your husband’s family always pressure can their chow?


    Sarah Pinnix Reply:

    Great info, Randal! My husband’s family never canned their own chow chow. Most recipes only call for water bath, but we felt there were so many variables with the acid content we wanted to be sure to be safe. And we have a glass top too. Let me know how yours turns out.


  7. can you make this chow chow without canning?



  1. […] the fridge. Wednesday morning, they go in the crockpot with a ham hock, and we;ll serve them with my husband’s famous chow-chow. (Yes, that’s a real […]

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