Saturday, August 18, 2012

Piccalilli/Chow Chow/Green Tomato Relish

Today, thanks to the great generosity of the Fogg family, I have made a first run at canning for the 2012 season. I made seven quarts, plus a little for the refrigerator, of piccalilli.  The recipe follows:

Chow Chow--Piccalilli --Green Tomato Relish


Piccalilli 2012



  • 4 quarts chopped green tomatoes  (yes!  16 CUPS of chopped green tomatoes)
  • 4 quarts coarsely chopped cabbage (it took 2 cabbages which were only about medium size--be sure to measure)
  • 3 cups finely chopped yellow onion or sweet onion
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt or pickling salt
  • 1 1/2 QUARTS cider vinegar
  • 2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons celery seed


Combine the chopped vegetables in a VERY large nonreactive kettle or bowl. (I used our large food processor and pulsed until they were the consistency I like for relish.)  Add the salt and stir to combine thoroughly. I used my clean hands to do this.  Cover and let stand for 4 hours or refrigerate overnight.  Not having enough empty space for the 13-quart bowl, I went the 4-hour route.

Drain the vegetables and rinse thoroughly. This will take some time.  I had a colander in the sink and dipped the vegetables into a long-handled sieve set into the colander then ran cold water through them.  After draining well, I put them into another large bowl.
In a large stainless steel kettle, bring the vinegar, brown sugar, and seeds and spices to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and continue simmering for 5 minutes. Add the drained vegetables and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring often.

Prepare the canner and jars by adding water about halfway up the canner. Cover and bring water to a boil.  While water is coming to a boil, wash jars thoroughly and set into canner rack.  In a small pan place hot water and bring to a simmer.  Place the jar lids in the pan and set to low simmer. 

At this point, with the canner water nearly hot, put a canning funnel into the first empty hot jar and ladle in the piccalilli relish, being absolutely certain not to get any juice or vegetables on the jar ring.  With a long-handled clean wooden spoon, or plastic canning gadget, reach into the jar and release any air pockets.  Make sure that there is juice enough to cover the relish.  Fill to one-half inch from top of jar.  Run a clean damp cloth around the top of the jar then place a hot lid on the jar then follow with a clean jar ring.  Finish filling the other six quart jars and tighten the jar rings.

 Very carefully lift the rack of filled jars into the boiling water in the canner.  If it looks like you are going to overflow the canner, put the rack back on the counter and take out 2 or 3 quarts of water and try again.  Be sure there is about one inch of water covering the top of the jars.  When the water returns to a boil,  let boil for at least 15 minutes.  If you are somewhat nervous about home canning, botulism, or other icky things,  you can process/boil for as long as 25 minutes.  Add more water as needed to keep the jars well covered.

When you are happy with the processing time, carefully remove the VERY HOT rack of beautiful piccalilli from the canner and set on a towel covered counter or table to cool.  Very shortly you should begin to hear "ping", "ping", "ping" as the jars seal.  Listen until you have heard all seven lids ping before leaving the room.  If you fail to wait to hear the pings, you will need to tap the middle of the lid later when you return to the room.  The lid should be depressed (but not unhappy!!!) and remain that way.  They are now safe to store away on your canning shelves in the cellar or wherever else you store them.  If there was a little left over from the jars, put it in a small jar or jars and refrigerate until you gobble it up.

This makes 7 quarts.  If you really like processing you can put it into smaller, or ever smaller jars an have many many jars on your shelves waiting to give away as Christmas, or other, gifts.

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