Looking for How to make Southern chow-chow - made easy, and illustrated! in 2023? Scroll down this page and follow the links. And if you bring home some fruit or vegetables and want to can, freeze, make jam, salsa or pickles, see this page for simple, reliable, illustrated canning, freezing or preserving directions. There are plenty of other related resources, click on the resources dropdown above. If you are having a hard time finding canning lids, I've used these, and they're a great price & ship in 2 days.
Click here for a PDF print version
Making and canning your own Southern chow-chow is one of the easiest things you can do with your extra vegetables! Here's how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated. This method is so easy, ANYONE can do this! It's a great thing to do with your kids!
Note: More photos are coming
Yield: About 9 half-pints (8 oz each)
Choose fresh, firm vegetables without soft spots or blemishes. Wash the veggies under cool water and drain.
You will need to make:
You can chop the vegetables as fine or as coarse as you like - I like 1/8 inch to 1/4-inches pieces, which my food processor does very well!
Mix the vegetables in a large pot with 1/2 cup of canning or pickling salt, then pour enough hot (from the facet or tap hot, not boiling) to cover the vegetables. Now, let it stand 12 hours (countertop, out of direct sunshine is fine).
The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle. I get that going while I'm preparing everything else, so it's done by the time I'm ready to fill the jars. If you don't have a dishwasher, submerge the jars in a large pot (the canner itself) of water and bring it to a boil.
Be sure to let it go through the rinse cycle to get rid of any soap!
Fill the canner about 1/2 full of water and start it heating (with the lid on).
Put the lids into the small pot of boiling water for at least several minutes. Note: everything gets sanitized in the water bath (step 7) anyway, so this just helps to ensure there is no spoilage later!)
Drain and press the vegetables in a clean white cloth (cheesecloth, a clean pillow case even works, paper towels will do) to remove all possible liquid..
Tie the 3 tablespoons of whole mixed pickling spice loosely in a spice bag and add it to a large pot with the:
If you don't have cheesecloth or a spice bag, a piece of thin clean cotton, like an old tie shirt, works fine.
Here's a great trick for the spices: get a baby food holder like this one, available at Target and any baby supplies store. It is made of plastic, and can hold the spices for easy removal later. It's reusable and has no metal, so it won't react with the vinegar!
Just heat the mix from step 6 to a boil in a sauce pan. Add the vegetables the liquid and return to a boil.
Remove spice bag. Fill hot sterile jars with the hot mixture, to within 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the top, seat the lid and hand-tighten the ring around them. (Note: larger jars are not recommended.)
Put them in the canner and keep them covered with at least 1 inch of water. Keep the water boiling. Boil them for 5 minutes (or as directed by the instructions in the pickle mix, or with your canner). Remember to adjust for altitudes and larger jars!
Recommended process time for pint or half-pint
|Process Time at Altitudes of|
|0 - 1,000 ft||1,001 - 6,000 ft||Above 6,000 ft|
|5 min||10 min||15 min|
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight) You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok.
When can you start eating the relish? As son as the jars cool!
How long will they keep in cool, dark storage? Usually 12 to 18 months!
For safety, this recipe is closely follows the recipe on page 6-13 of the USDA's Guide, "Complete Guide to Home Canning".
From left to right:
Summary - Cost of Making Homemade chow-chow - makes 8 pint jars, 16 oz each*
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2023||Source||Subtotal|
|Vegetables||see ingredients||free from the garden, or $3.00 cents at a PYO||Pick your own||$5.00|
|Canning jars (pint size, wide mouth), includes lids and rings||12 jars||$8.00/dozen||Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.) and online here||$5.35|
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
|Spices||4 teaspoons each||$3.00 per package||Grocery stores (Publix, Kroger, Safeway, etc.)||$3.00|
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
|Pickling Salt||3/4 cup||$3.00 per 3 cup box||Safeway,
Publix, Kroger, grocery stores
or about $2 per jar INCLUDING the jars - which you can reuse!
* - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles,, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars! Many products are sold in jars that will take the lids and rings for canning. For example, Classico Spaghetti sauce is in quart sized jars that work with Ball and Kerr lids and rings. See this page for information about reusing jars from commercial products for home canning.
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately. You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are reusable)! There is also a simple kit with just the canner and rack, and a pressure canner, if you want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes). To see
more canners, of different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Don't forget the Ball Blue Book!