Appalachian Food Preserving/Canning

NC Chow Chow

bowl of vegetables

Chow chow is a vegetable mixture that is either pickled or fermented. I don’t recall Granny ever making chow chow when I was growing up, but I know Pap loved it. A few weeks back I shared a fermented chow chow recipe with you by way of Blind Pig reader PinnacleCreek. Today I’m going to share a pickled version of chow chow that I learned to make at the John C. Campbell Folk School several years ago.


The hardest part of the recipe is chopping everything up. I take the easy route and use my food processor, it makes the task go much quicker and by using a pulse type of chopping you can control how coarse or how fine you’d like your vegetables to be. The recipe says it makes 7 pints but I always end up with more than that so if you give the recipe a try have a few extra jars on hand.

This chow chow is pretty in jars and makes a dandy gift. Chow chow is good along with most any meal but seems to be especially good with soup beans and cornbread.


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  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    July 29, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Chow-chow=Yum-Yum, thank you for sharing the recipe!

  • Reply
    July 24, 2018 at 8:17 pm

    I’ve never had this, but it sure looks pretty and sounds delicious!

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 24, 2018 at 3:21 am

    I haven’t made chow chow in a long, long time…My chow chow was more mustardity than yours looks here…I bought a jar of NC German chow chow at the big craft show in Gatlinburg this past weekend…They had several varieties from hot to very hot to mild…German style and American style…We love good chow chow with pinto beans, when we have it…One time I made a big run for a friend in exchange for some pure white Rose of Sharon shrubs…It was a real cabbage chow chow, etc. that he wanted…Sheweee, I thought it tasted terrible…he loved it…I made him about fourteen quarts of the stuff…he said he was tickled to death to get it…even gave me the pint jars to process it in…Oh well, I think I got the better deal for my White Rose of Sharons grew fast and bloomed in a long row…and are still growing…
    Thanks Tipper,
    No extra produce for Chow chow these days…but love this post

    • Reply
      b. Ruth
      July 24, 2018 at 3:22 am

      I meant to say pints not quarts….old lady slip up…lol

  • Reply
    Lee Mears
    July 23, 2018 at 3:53 pm

    Too many seeds for me.. NO seeds. My family used cabbage, green beans and corn and pickled it.
    You know what they say, if Mother didn’t make it, I’m not eating it. Mother did start putting celery seeds in cold slaw and I didn’t eat hers then. It just ruined the purist taste of cabbage, mayo and salt.
    I don’t like herbs either.
    This appears to be like a relish instead of a side dish, like cranberry relish. ??
    It is interesting, I’m interested to see all recipes of everything.

    • Reply
      Lee Mears
      July 23, 2018 at 5:52 pm

      On further reflection, pondering of Chow Chow while picking up sticks and limbs in my driveways, I dont think my family actually knew what chow-chow was. At some point its what they called the concoction Granny pickled and called Chow.
      Supper could be pork chops, boiled potato’s, chow and corn bread., replacing a vegetable. They didn’t even keep ketchup or mustard . Most years she made bread/butter pickles and that would have been the only condiment they ever put on the table. But it was fantastic! Esp if made when signs were right.
      I bought some green tomato relish in a jar once in grocery store and it was so good with pinto beans but had forgotten about it.
      So your new recipe is probably a delicious addition to the table.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    July 23, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Both of my grandmothers made chow chow and we all loved it. My mother didn’t like to can so she never made it that I remember. When I got old enough I started making it, but we never had a real recipe, just used what we could get out of the garden. I may be making a big batch this week. I also like to make corn relish with tomatoes. I’ve already canned 8 pints of pickled beets. There are so many wonderful pickled or fermented recipes to try, I do as many as I can. We have a pretty large family and nothing ever goes to waste.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 23, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    I’m not much for Chow Chow. My mama and daddy canned it by the gobs. They loved it with beans and cornbread. Guess that’s what they had mostly in the Depression Years. By the time I got here Mama had just about quit making Chow Chow but she canned lots of other things. …Ken

  • Reply
    July 23, 2018 at 11:22 am

    I would like to try some chow-chow but 7 pints would last me about 7 years and I don’t know that I will last that long. If you run across a good recipe for a couple of pints I would definitely give it a try.
    Cooking for a family is hard work. Cooking for one is worse!

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    July 23, 2018 at 11:19 am

    I will be giving this a try. I love chow chow with pinto beans, but I also like it on a hamburger or cheeseburger.

  • Reply
    July 23, 2018 at 11:02 am

    Thanks for the recipe, I can tell from the ingredients ,its gonna taste mighty fine on beans , which is how my husband loves to eat it…. my granny made what she called sour hot green tomato” catsup”…. she prepared the ingredients, and let it ferment in a big ole crock… it had hot peppers in it , no sugar, and I can attest to the tongue burning, eye watering hotness…granddaddy would take a big ole heaping spoon and eat it ,no cornbread or beans to buffer what we thought would set him to drinking every glass of tea on the table… he never flinched, then would grin this granddaddy tuff grin . ….My sister and I thought well if he can take it, we can take it , and proceeded to do the same,,, 🙂 Whew ! Big Mistake.. 🙂 loved the taste of it , but learned how to eat it wisely 🙂

  • Reply
    July 23, 2018 at 9:02 am

    An easy recipe I’ve got to try. Sounds like it would be delicious with soup beans and fried taters.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 23, 2018 at 7:52 am

    I don’t think I will try the leather boot test. But it certainly gets the idea across.

    Your post makes me want some. I can just imagine how pretty it looks just to start with; summer in a jar. I’m thinking it would be great in tuna salad, potato salad and with field peas also.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    July 23, 2018 at 7:48 am

    We made lots of chow-chow and it was the kids job to do the chopping. We also put corn in ours and green beans. Our pieces were a bit larger also.

  • Reply
    July 23, 2018 at 6:41 am

    Nothing better with a pot of soup beans and corn bread.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 23, 2018 at 6:33 am

    That sounds wonderful, Tip. I’ve never made anything quite like it. The closest would be The Deer Hunter’s grandma Lura’s relish recipe for relish. It’s a coarser cut and fewer vegetables and very good also!
    The older people came up with some very good ways to brighten up a meal of dried beans in the winter when other vegetables were not available!

  • Reply
    July 23, 2018 at 4:59 am

    My Mom use to make it, I loved it. I believe it’d make a leather boot taste good.

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