Monday, October 10, 2011

Southern Chow-Chow

This is my new favorite southern style food. It's not really a food. It's a condiment. I've been asked by everyone in the west, what is it? My answer is that it's a cross between salsa, sauerkraut and pickle relish. Sounds strange but it's so tasty. My family in North Carolina serve it on hotdogs, beans, soup, you name it. We ate it as it was cooking with corn chips. I liked it better than salsa! And it's not an expensive food to make, nor is it a lot of work like salsa. Try it, you'll love it! Note: My first attempt, ZJ was reading the recipe to me and gathering the goods because I was also canning salsa at the time. She misread the peppers and gave me eight jalepenos. I used all eight. It was on fire to taste but was so so good! I'll probably use four, instead of the called for three next time. A good mistake, if you like things spicy!

2 heads of cabbage
5 or 6 large cucumbers

5-6 green tomatoes

7-8 ripe tomatoes

3 jalepeno peppers or 6 bell peppers or a mix

2 Tbsp. pickling spice

vinegar (I used cider vinegar)

2 cups of sugar

1/3 cup salt

Chop the cabbage really fine. (I used my food processor.) Put in large kettle. Peel the cucumbers, slice them lengthwise and seed them. Then dice them up and add to the kettle. Dice the green tomatoes. Mix into the large kettle. Add the pickling spice, either wrapped and tied up in cheesecloth or in a metal teaball to the cabbage mix. Then, add enough vinegar into the pot until it is 1/2 - 1/3 from the top of the cabbage mix. (So, if the pot is about six inches deep with cabbage mix, add enough vinegar until the vinegar is about 4 inches deep. Does that make sense?) Start cooking on medium high until you can begin to smell the pickling spices. Pour in the sugar and stir. Turn it down and let it simmer. In the meantime while it's heating up, drop the ripe tomatoes in a separate pot of boiling water for a few seconds until the skin splits on them, then peel the skin right off. Dice the ripe tomatoes and put them into a separate bowl. Use your food processor to dice up the jalepenos, leaving the seeds in. Add the peppers to the red tomatoes and it will begin to have a pink cast to it. Add the pepper/tomato mixture into the cabbage mixture and cook until the cabbage is cooked. Add more vinegar or sugar to taste. (I added about half a cup of sugar and it was perfect.)

When the cabbage is cooked, use a slotted spoon to lift it out of the pot and into the canning jars. After all the jars are packed, pour the liquid mixture over the cabbage. Seal and process. (I pressure canned mine for 15 minutes.) (Cousin Ronda did hers in NC for about 20 minutes with a cold canner. Aunt Verlie just lets it seal with the hot mixture in the jar and doesn't process them at all...but she's in her 80s and that's how they used to do it, so that's how she continues to do it.) Enjoy!

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