Sunday, December 7, 2008

Homemade Habanero And Green Tomato Chow-Chow

This recipe has become a favorite among our friends and I get a growing number of requests for it each year. If you've never had Chow-Chow, then you are really in for a treat. This powerful little *relish* packs a mighty punch, and can be served in a large variety of ways.

It is an excellent accompaniment for a variety of beef cuts, as well as pork. It also makes a convenient last minute appetizer when poured over the top of a block of cream cheese, served with crackers. Or simply served on crackers. I swear it's delicious all by itself.

This year, we had a shortage on green tomatoes, because only one of my plants survived the triple digit heat in late Spring. After that, it was just too hot to consider planting again. Although, I did have one stubborn Sweet Cherry 100's plant that eventually provided me with a colander full of green cherry tomatoes that I took before the first freeze.

At the same time, my golfing buddy, Judy, brought me all the green tomatoes they took from their garden, so it seemed I had enough to make two cases of pint jars filled with the mysteriously hot relish. So, let's get to it, shall we?



For The Chow-Chow

10 - 12 large green tomatoes

2 each large bell peppers, one red, one green

2 large red or yellow onions

1 large head of cauliflower

1 large head of cabbage

 2 large heads of garlic

3-4 large jalapeno peppers

3-4 firm Habanero peppers

1 can of medium to large artichoke hearts

For The Pickling Liquid

6 Cups Apple Cider vinegar
2 Cups water
5-1/2 Cups sugar
1/2 CupPickling Salt
3 teaspoons whole allspice

2 (3 inch) cinnamon sticks
3 teaspoons celery seed
3 teaspoons mustard seed
3 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 large square of cheesecloth
kitchen twine


1. I start the pickling liquid first so that it can cook down a bit while I'm preparing the vegetables.

2. Combine first four ingredients for the pickling liquid in a non-reactive pan, over high heat.

3. Lay out a square of cheesecloth and place the remaining 6 ingredients on it. Carefully tie it closed with the kitchen twine and throw in the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil.

4. Reduce heat to medium-low flame and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes on top of stove. Allow it to cool entirely, after removing from flame. Set aside. At this point, it can actually be kept in the fridge for up to five days before use.

5. Clean and coarsley chop the vegetables to be added to the food processor.

6. The order doesn't matter. Pour it all into a large bowl until you finish preparations. Once all of the chopping done, add the entire mixture to the pan with the pickling liquid.

7. Bring mixture to another boil. Once it has reached the point of a full rolling boil, you can turn of the heat. Now, you're ready for the canning part.

8. After running all the jars and lids through the dishwasher, I always put them in a stockpot filled with boiling water, just because I'm a real safety gal.

9. After 15 minutes of boiling the jars and lids, you can drain them on clean paper towels.

10. Fill each jar with the hot mixture, add the lid, and turn each pint jar over for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. They should pop and seal once they are turned back over.

11. Allow Chow-Chow two to three weeks of fermenting before opening a jar.