Dirt to Table Experience- Southern Sweet Chow-Chow Relish

PUBLISHED ON: 01.15.2012

I am smiling at myself.  There things you don’t imagine yourself doing.  I have realized that there are many things that could not be imagined at some point in my life, that became a reality at another point.  Example, shoveling manure out of a wheel barrel into a garden plot and enjoying every minute.  There was a moment I  thought, “This brings new meaning to shoveling sh**”.  Followed by a second brief moment, “If only my friends could see me now”.  In reality, it is difficult to shake my city slicker ways, and embrace a calmer closer to the earth way of life.  I obviously crave it, as I am always seeking ways to get closer to what I value.  One of the things I value is food.

Something else I did not imagine doing was canning food.  I attempted to can a tomato salsa for my family one year.  Can you tell me what happens when you can fresh, uncooked diced tomatoes?  The pressure builds in the jar, and when you open it, it will explode.  Yes, there would have been no telling what would have happened had I proudly gave out my jars of joy to each member of my family.  My desire to can promptly came to an end.

The new reality is that I had an abundance of cabbage in my garden.  More cabbage than my family was willing to enjoy each day.  We grew it, I can’t waste it!  The thought passes through my mind maybe, just maybe, I should can it…. the thought became a reality, and so I did.  With a little help from my food processor and actually following the directions, I managed to produce 10 quart size jars of something delicious.  With only a slight hesitancy, willing to share with my friends because this time I think I did it right.

Chow-Chow is a southern style relish that has long been a favorite as a topping on pinto beans, hot dogs, black-eyed peas, hamburgers, collards, and other greens.  It is really quite delicious.

Did I mention it was easy too?

Southern Sweet Chow-Chow Relish
Recipe from the Mountain Laurel
Makes 5-6 Jars

2 quarts shredded cabbage (1 medium head)
1/2 cup sweet onions, chopped fine
1/2 cup red or green bell peppers chopped fine
2  tablespoons salt
Note: I added a hot pepper to some of my jars to add a spicy kick.
Combine the chopped vegetables and sprinkle with salt.  Let stand in the refrigerator 4-6 hours.  Drain well.
Combine the following ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.  Use a large enough pot to mix the vegetables in later.
2 cups vinegar
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons celery seed
2 teaspoons mustard seed
Add vegetables to vinegar-spice mixture and simmer another 10 minutes.  Bring to boil then pack, boiling hot into heated canning jars, leaving only 1/8-inch head space.  Place canning lids and rings on jars, and tighten.
Turn the jars upside down so that all the heat is on the seals.  Don’t turn the jars upright until the jars are completely cool.
Note: If you would like to share a Dirt to Table Experience as a guest blogger on Tomatoes on the Vine send me an email.  I would love to share your experience.

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