Old-Fashioned Chow Chow Recipe

If you’re on the lookout for a recipe that encapsulates the true essence of Southern flavors and traditions, look no further than this delightful Old-Fashioned Chow Chow. This timeless recipe brings together a medley of ingredients that have been cherished for generations, resulting in a sweet and tangy relish that can elevate any meal. Whether you’re an experienced chef or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is a must-try for anyone who wants to savor the classic tastes of the South.

For Whom and Why: A Taste of Heritage

This Old-Fashioned Chow Chow recipe is a nod to the past, a homage to the cherished culinary traditions that have been passed down through Southern families. It’s for those who appreciate the simplicity of ingredients coming together to create complex flavors. This recipe allows you to create a jar of nostalgia, ready to be enjoyed with family and friends or shared as a thoughtful homemade gift.

The magic of this Chow Chow lies in its ability to capture the essence of fresh produce, from the earthy aroma of cabbage to the vibrant colors of tomatoes, bell peppers, and onions. The combination of sweet and tangy notes offers a sensory experience that transports you to simpler times.

Kitchen Equipment Needed:

  • Large pot
  • Cutting board and knife
  • Pint jars with lids for sealing

Storing Leftovers:

Any leftover Old-Fashioned Chow Chow can be stored in the sealed pint jars in a cool, dark place. Properly sealed jars can last for up to a year. Once opened, store the jars in the refrigerator and consume the relish within a few weeks for the best quality.

Tips and Variations: Making It Your Own

  • Spice Level: Adjust the heat by altering the quantity of hot peppers. For a milder version, omit the hot peppers altogether.
  • Texture Preferences: Feel free to chop the vegetables to your desired size. Some prefer a chunkier relish, while others opt for a finer texture.
  • Sugar Substitutes: If you’re looking to reduce sugar content, consider using natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup, adjusting the quantities to taste.
  • Flavor Enhancements: Add a touch of depth to the relish by incorporating spices like mustard seeds, turmeric, or celery seeds.

Food Pairings and Drink Recommendations

The versatility of Old-Fashioned Chow Chow extends beyond being a mere condiment. Here are a few creative ways to incorporate this relish into your meals:

  • Southern Classics: Enjoy it alongside classics like fried chicken, collard greens, and cornbread for a truly authentic Southern feast.
  • Sandwiches and Burgers: Elevate your sandwiches and burgers with a spoonful of Chow Chow to add a burst of flavor and crunch.
  • Cheese and Charcuterie: Create a charming cheese board by pairing the relish with a variety of cheeses, cured meats, and crusty bread.

For drinks, consider serving sweet tea or a crisp lemonade to complement the relish’s sweet and tangy profile.


Q: Can I use different types of peppers for varying heat levels?
A: Absolutely! Experiment with different pepper varieties to achieve your preferred level of spiciness.

Q: How long does it take for the flavors to develop?
A: The flavors of Chow Chow intensify over time. For the best taste, allow the relish to sit in sealed jars for at least a week before consuming.

Q: Can I can the relish using a water bath canning method?
A: Yes, you can! Follow proper canning procedures to safely preserve the relish for long-term storage.

Old-Fashioned Chow Chow Recipe

Prep Time: Cooking Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat
Rating: 5.0/5
( 1 voted )


  • 1 small cabbage, chopped
  • 6 to 8 green or red tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 medium bell peppers, chopped
  • 6 large onions, chopped
  • 2 hot peppers, chopped
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 cups white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup salt or pickling salt


Gather all the ingredients and chop the vegetables as directed.

In a large pot, combine the chopped cabbage, tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, and hot peppers.

Add the sugar, white vinegar, and salt to the pot.

Place the pot over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil.

Reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the desired tenderness is achieved.

Once cooked, the Old-Fashioned Chow Chow can be packed into pint jars and sealed. This recipe yields 8 to 9 pints, but you can easily adjust the quantities for smaller batches.

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