Saturday, May 5, 2012

Chow Chow: A Family Tradition

My great Grandmother, Big Momma, preserved and canned all sorts of things. If it wasn't for her I probably wouldn't even know what Chow Chow is.

In the South we put Chow Chow on just about anything. Veggies, hot dogs, bratwurst and you can not have a Thanksgiving dinner without Chow Chow. It can be spicy (that's the way I like it) or sweet. What I have to say I love the most about this family tradition is making it with my mother. Spending time with my Mom in the kitchen is like having a cooking class with my very own Paula Deen. Minus the gray hair and the over use of a Southern girl's favorite word, "y'all". I learn something new every time. Every. Time. The lessons that she learned from my great Grandmother are now being passed down to me, and I am forever grateful. Grateful and proud.

Here's how you make it. Once you get your jars make sure you have cleaned them along with the lids. Chop up one large head of cabbage and an onion and place it in a freezer safe container. Sprinkle a generous amount of pickling salt into the container. Stir well. Put it in the freezer overnight.

The next day place your mixture in a bowl and rinse it well with water. Drain your cabbage mixture in a colander. Place mixture into a huge pot. Finely chop your favorite pepper and add it to the mix. Next you'll need to add four cups of vinegar, one-two cups of sugar and a tablespoon of pickling salt. At this point, you'll want to add your seasoning of choice. We try something different each time we make it and it has always turned out VERY good. Place your mix on the stove and bring it to a soft boil. Let it boil for about five minutes. Taste as you go. Add more of your spices if you need to.

You'll want to give your jars a hot bath. The jars should sit in the hot bath for five minutes. Make sure you are wearing a glove/oven mitten while handling the jars. They will be extremely hot. I recommend using tongs for easy retrieval. Place the Chow Chow in the jars while they are still hot. A funnel will make this task a breeze.

Place jars with lids back into hot bath for five minutes. The next day you can add a thin layer of wax under the jar lid if you'd like. After about six weeks your Chow Chow will be ready to eat. You can eat it before if you want to but the flavor gets so much better if you wait. Trust me it's worth it!

shredded cabbage

shredded cabbage

shredded cabbage with pickling salt

serrano peppers

serrano pepper

serrano pepper chopped cabbage pickling salt

chow chow

canning chow chow

canning chow chow

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