Thanks to all who came out to our canning demo at The Pearl Farmers Market this morning. It was great to meet enthusiastic canners, as well as those who are just starting their canning adventures! Below is not so much a “recipe”, but a method with a few ratios that will allow you to make whatever kind of chowchow you desire. Traditional Southern chowchow has tomato and cabbage. I used a green tomato and kale base because that was what was fresh at the market, as well as squash, zucchini, green bell pepper, yellow onion, and fresh chiles. Have fun with whatever is fresh at your local farmers market!
Cut all your vegetables to approx 1/2inch dice; if you have leafy greens its best to blanch and shock those separately and add to the final mixture at the end of making the chowchow. Make a salt water solution (brine), to taste, that is highly seasoned. (This will be your primary means of seasoning your vegetables so don’t be skimpy, realizing that not all of the salt in the brine will be transferred to your vegetables). Pour your brine to cover the vegetables and let sit for at least 3 hours, or overnight in the fridge.
Once your veg us brined start on your chowchow liquid. This is a starting point that you can adjust to taste. ie If the liquid is too acidic for your taste add more sugar; if you like more of one spice and less of another, adjust to your own preference.
Basic liquid: 2 cups distilled white vinegar to 1/2c packed brown sugar; I used light brown sugar this morning. Bring the vinegar to a simmer to dissolve the sugar and then add spices: 1tsp of each, black pepper, red pepper flakes, celery seed, coriander seeds, allspice berries, dry mustard, turmeric, grated fresh ginger, and 1 cinnamon stick. (optional: its best to lightly toast the coriander in a dry pan until fragrant, then smash). After spices are added bring to a simmer, then turn off heat and let steep for at least 10 mins.
Once your chowchow liquid has steeped, strain it over the vegetables and bring to a simmer to just soften your vegetables. You don’t want your veg to be mushy, just slightly softened.
From here you can either cool and store in the fridge, or funnel into sterlised canning jars and can for 15mins in boiling water (see USDA website for complete canning procedures and guidelines). Enjoy, it’s great with smoked pork belly!