Green Tomato Relish or Chow Chow

As the nights get colder and our days get shorted those lovely tomatoes stop ripening and we are left with Green Tomatoes. Those hard and flavorless reminders of what will not come. Now is the time to make hard choices, try hanging them on the vine in the garage and see what happens, toss them in the compost bin, or make Green Tomato relish.

These tomatoes are generally not green beefsteaks or other large tomato that would lend itself to breading and frying. They are Roma’s, Willamette valley etc. They didn’t start growing on the vine until late in the season, so they didn’t have time to ripen before the season was over.

A few years ago we had a horrid season.  There were more un-ripened tomatoes than ripened ones. Very disappointing. I went on an internet search and discovered Chow Chow and Green Tomato Relish. The difference between Green Tomato Relish and Chow Chow is that Chow Chow includes cabbage and hot peppers. Over the years I have thought of making a true Chow Chow but opted for the easier preference of a semi sweet relish, much like a pickle relish.

We no longer buy pickle relish and use our tomato relish for hamburgers, hot dogs, tuna fish salad or anything you would use a pickle relish for.

The tomatoes can be orange or red, they do not all have to be green to end up in the jar.

The Green Tomato Relish is super easy to make. Simply chop tomatoes, red and green bell peppers, onions, and add salt, sugar and vinegar, mustard seed and celery seed. Combine all finely chopped ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes or more, then can the relish.

Use the following ingredient quantities and adjust for how many tomatoes you have.

  • 5 pounds green tomatoes
  • 3 red and 3 green bell peppers
  • 2 1/2 pounds onions
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons each of mustard seed and celery seeds

Chow Chow is a spicier southern version. The recipe I would like to try is from the internet site Taste of Southern. It takes longer to prep and cook but the results look fabulous.


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I love to read and cook, and I am at the age I am not afraid to share my opinion. There is the right way, the wrong way and Bill's way. 🙂
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