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Chow Chow Old Fashioned

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Discover how to make homemade Chow Chow, a Southern classic condiment that will become your go-to topping for hot dogs, hamburgers, and even vegetable dishes. This step-by-step guide takes you through a world of colors, flavors, and crunch. Trust us, this tangy relish is a game-changer!

Hey there, lovely readers! 🌞 Have you ever heard of Chow Chow? No, not the cute dog breed! I’m talking about an incredible, vibrant condiment that hails from the Southern United States. This pickled relish is a symphony of textures and flavors: crunchy, sweet, spicy, and tangy all at once! I was first introduced to Chow Chow on a road trip through the South, and since then, I’ve been absolutely smitten.

Before we dive into this culinary adventure, let me tell you why you need Chow Chow in your life:

Versatility: It’s the Swiss army knife of condiments—great on sandwiches, hot dogs, burgers, and even as a zesty twist to your beans and veggies.
Full of Flavor: Imagine eating something and tasting sweetness, tartness, and a touch of spice in one bite.
Visual Delight: Its vibrant colors will make any dish Instagram-worthy!
So, are you ready? Let’s get chopping!


  • 2 pounds of cabbage, chopped (That’s your fiber-packed base)
  • 12 medium-sized onions, diced (For that zesty crunch)
  • 12 green bell peppers, diced (Color and crunch? Yes, please!)
  • 12 red bell peppers, diced (More color!)
  • 8 cups of green tomatoes, peeled and chopped (These offer a tangy undertone)
  • 1/2 cup of salt (Helps in the pickling process)
  • 5 cups of sugar (For sweetness that rounds everything out)
  • 4 tablespoons of prepared mustard (Adds zest and complexity)
  • 1 teaspoon of ground ginger (A little warmth)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves (Subtle depth)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground allspice (Exotic kick)
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional, for heat lovers 🔥)


  • Combine Your Veggies and Seasonings: In a generously-sized mixing bowl, toss together your chopped cabbage, onions, green and red bell peppers, and green tomatoes. This colorful medley forms the backbone of your Chow Chow.
  • Add Flavor Punches: Sprinkle in the salt, sugar, prepared mustard, ground ginger, ground cloves, and ground allspice. If you’re feeling adventurous, toss in the optional cayenne pepper. Stir everything together so all those gorgeous chunks are evenly coated.
  • Jar It Up: Take clean jars (absolutely spotless, you don’t want any bacteria party crashers!) and tightly pack your vibrant mixture into them. Leave about 1/2-inch space at the top, known as headspace. This allows room for the ingredients to expand.
  • Seal the Deal: Wipe the rims of your jars with a damp, clean cloth to ensure they’re debris-free. Twist on the lids and rings securely but not overly tight.
  • The Boiling Water Bath: Here comes the magic! Submerge your jars in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. This step is crucial for long-term storage as it seals the jars and makes them airtight.
  • Cooling Time: After processing, take the jars out and let them cool completely. You’ll hear the satisfying “pop” as they seal.
  • Store and Savor: Once cool, store your jars in a cool, dark place. The flavors will meld over time, making it even better!


  • Uniform Chopping: Use a sharp knife for even vegetable pieces.
  • Clean Jars: Sterilize jars before use.
  • Headspace: Leave 1/2-inch space at the top of each jar.
  • Seal Cleaning: Wipe jar rims with a damp cloth.
  • Boiling Water Bath: Process jars for 10 minutes.
  • Cool Completely: Wait for jars to cool and seal.
  • Storage: Keep in a cool, dark place.
  • Optional Heat: Add cayenne for a spicy kick.

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