Chow-chow Relish Recipe

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Chow-chow Relish Recipe for Hot Dogs

Chow-chow relish is a pickled relish made from a combination of vegetables. Mainly green tomato, cabbage, chayote, red tomatoes, onions, carrots, beans, asparagus, cauliflower and peas are used. Chow-chow relish is especially popular in the South, where they grow huge heads of crisp green cabbage.  Because of all of the different ingredients, chow-chow is a great way to preserve summer produce like cabbage, bell peppers and green tomatoes and just about anything else left over at the end of harvest season.

Chow-chow relish is often eaten with a bowl of pinto beans in the South, but in most parts of the country it is considered a delicious, if not somewhat exotic, relish for on hot dogs. There are many variations of chow-chow relish, including store bought varieties like Crosse & Blackwell Chow Chow Piccalilli Mustard & Pickle Relish and Mrs. Renfros Chow Chow Relish, but the one below is tried and true. This recipe is sweet but there are hot varieties as well.


2 pounds green bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch bites

2 pounds red bell peppers, cut into 1/4-inch bites

2 pounds green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch bites

2 pounds sweet onions, cut into 1/4-inch bites

One 2 lb  head of green cabbage, cored and finely chopped

1/4 cup kosher salt

2 cups sugar

2 cups apple cider vinegar

1 cups water

1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds, whole

1/2 tablespoon dry mustard, powdered

1/2 tablespoon crushed red pepper

1/2 tablespoon celery seeds

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon turmeric


To make your own chow-chow relish:

  1. In a large non-reactive bowl, toss the bell peppers, tomatoes, onions and cabbage with the salt; cover and refrigerate overnight to draw out the water from the vegetables.
  2. Drain the vegetables and throw out the liquid (or your keep it and use it to flavor soups). In a large, heavy pot, bring the sugar, vinegar and water to a boil. Add the mustard seeds, dry mustard, crushed red pepper, celery seeds, ginger and turmeric and stir well. Add the drained vegetables and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the relish is thick and saucy, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Put mixture into a non-reactive container and let cool.  For best results, place the cooled jar in the refrigerator for at least 1 week before serving.  This allows the flavors to meld and mellow.  Chow chow will keep for several months if kept in the refrigerator.
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