Appalachian Food

Fermenting in Appalachia

fermented chow chow

Fermenting food is an Appalachian Foodways tradition and it is a great way to put up food for winter consumption. Watch the video below to learn more about the folklore surrounding fermentation in Appalachia. I also share an old fermented chow chow recipe that’s been handed down through the generations in West Virginia.

I hope you enjoyed the video!

This week we:

  • canned green beans
  • canned tomatoes
  • froze blueberries
  • canned applesauce
  • made apple butter and canned it
  • dried some okra and more zucchini


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  • Reply
    October 16, 2020 at 7:36 am

    like the recipe
    like your recipes

  • Reply
    August 19, 2020 at 9:05 am

    I loved this video. Thank you so much for making it. I’ve never made chow chow – either pickled or fermented. I’ve married an Appalachia Tennessean and I’m learning as I go (so to speak). I’m keeping my eye out for crocks and will find the zodiac calendar – though I have to admit I have no idea what it means to have the sign be in the head. Please keep making videos, they’re wonderful.

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    August 18, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    Excellent teaching, Tipper. I love to hear you teach. So thorough, so calm and intensive, but calmly going about the task! Signs of an excellent teacher. I’ve done my share of “fermenting” and “pickling”, canning and drying–any way to preserve food for winter. And I began sooooo early in life. My mother, who was getting ill at the time I was 11 and 12, began to teach me, and when I was 14 she passed away and I became the “chief, cook, bottle-washer, house-cleaner, laundress,” for my Daddy and my 11-year old brother. And, amazingly, I also kept Bluford and me in school! But we really enjoyed the things I “put up” for winter food. If I ran into problems or didn’t know how, my Aunt Northa and Aunts Ethel and Avery lived fairly near by, and I could call them on the old “crank-up” telephone to ask for help, or go urriedly to their houses for help. Someshow, I survived, and so did my father and young brother, and my older brother who came home from WW II with wounds not healed when the war was over. My older sister was already married and her husband, too, was away in WW II when our mother died. She already lived in her own home, and had two little children. So you see, we 4 Dyer children were some years apart in age. But fermenting and pickling are known to me. Sorry, I don’t have a recipe handy now!

  • Reply
    August 17, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    I’ve never made anything fermented, but I learned quite a bit from your video. My husband and I both like sauerkraut and we buy the kind in a jar or plastic bag. Sauerkraut in a can tastes like the can. I liked the sounds of the chickens in the background.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 17, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    I had some of your NC Relish that you and Matt brought over here. That stuff was so Pretty, I hated to open it, but I did. I like the way you talk, no wonder My Girls had you all to themselves at our Garden Celebration. They hadn’t never seen anybody that talked like them before. My Girls are Educated, just like you are, but most of their friends have an Accent.

    My friend Ed Ammons, when he made me two Rings from 1948 quarters to celebrate the year I was born. He made them with a pocket Knife and a Spoon to a shiny glaze so my girls would like them. He saved ” In God we Trust” and the date, so My Girls would Remember. I asked him how much I owed him and he said ” If I charged, we wouldn’t be friends.” And Oh. I almost forgot, He put them in a petty-coat looking container with a draw-string at the top. The Girls was well pleased. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 17, 2020 at 10:50 am

    I don’t have a crock but Dusty has a pair of Crocs. Do you think one of them would work?

    • Reply
      Ed Ammons
      August 17, 2020 at 9:30 pm

      On second thought anything I made in it would smell like feet no matter what sign it was.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2020 at 10:25 am

    I am trying to make certain I watch each and every video on YouTube. Unfortunately there are trolls who follow these wonderful people who bring informative videos on YouTube, and you will see the bad side of me if I ever see one of them put on a mean comment to our dear Tipper. I had watched “Coffee With Kate” for some time, and it was about a lady in California trying to make a homestead with her husband and children in a state where taxes have made many homeless. The pressure finally made her give up her site.

    With the firm belief that good can overcome evil, I am predicting great things for you on this site. So many are stuck home, and they want to learn ways to help their families through this crisis. You are a walking encyclopedia of the Appalachian ways that were used to sustain families through the years. Thank you for sharing with the world. I can only ask that your followers on here jump over and subscribe and give a thumbs up. It is folks like you, Tipper, who can help everybody learn so they can get through all the ups and downs being experienced in our present day.

  • Reply
    August 17, 2020 at 9:30 am

    That was a wonderful video. I have never done the fermenting but I do remember my grandmother had big crocks full of sauerkraut and I remember Mother had one of those big crock pots full with a weight on top and a saucer over the very top. One of my Aunts made the chow chow but I think she used vinegar.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 17, 2020 at 9:08 am

    Great video, Tip. You photograph very well and you give very clear easy instructions!
    My Granny always made chow that was corn, green beans, and cabbage. It was really good.
    My mother in law made what she called pickled beans, that was corn and green beans. It was really good too.
    The chow chow was a little more sour tasting because the cabbage soured more than the beans and corn.
    They both always had a funeral home calendar that has all the signs on it and that’s what they followed..religiously.

    I’ve never heard of how they originally learned to pickle the vegetables for the winter. I would guess it came to this country with the settlers. The only other way of preserving these veggies would have been drying, like leather britches beans.

    All of the old people that I knew would can through the summer till all their jars were all full then fill the crocks one more time and that’s what they ate first. They made the best use they could from all the food available to them.

  • Reply
    Margie Goldstein
    August 17, 2020 at 8:43 am

    I can apple butter utilizing my crock pot. It’s pretty wonderful but isn’t what was made using a cauldron and copper pennies by my grandparents. My grandma crocked the best chow chow I ever ate and right now I’d pay dearly for a pint. She had staunch rules surrounding her fermenting and one was no young lady could turn the food in the crock if it was “ the special time” because she said the salts from one’s palms would rot the food in question. I very much enjoyed your video today and I must say you are a very industrious lady, Tipper. Your family is very blessed to have a mother like you leading the way! Thank you so much! Btw, your skin is flawless and glowing and you look so trim, healthy and pretty I must say. Have a great day in Brasstown. I’d like to see a sunny day in molding, fungus laden, mushroom overtaken ( I despise mushrooms) WV myself for a change and maybe some summer clothes. It’s rained here 10 days straight or more… smh

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    August 17, 2020 at 7:42 am

    Odd, we never pickled corn or beans or peaches. We did pickles, kraut and chow chow. In my growing up years nobody I knew of grew any okra.

    As for sticking his arm in the crock, country kids know there is clean dirt and dirty dirt. After all, terramycin (however it’s spelled) comes from dirt I believe. Us boys were pretty casual about clean dirt. Got some from drinking out of the creek, some from eating unwashed fruits and vegetables. But before everybody thinks we were terrible, my Mon was a nurse and she ingrained in us to wash our hands. We learned that lesson well. So we didn’t stress about dirt so much but we weren’t totally unmindful either.

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    August 17, 2020 at 6:41 am

    Hi Tipper!
    My wife and I really enjoyed the video on fermenting. We both agree you should do an Appalachian cooking show.

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