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Serve from a cute jarDo you know what chow chow is?

It’s cabbage.  Pickled.  It’s like relish, kind of.

But not dill relish.  Or sweet pickle relish.  It’s different.

It’s a southern thing, I think.  Anyone have knowledge of Chow Chow History?  That should be a class.

Chow chow is also the only way I would eat any sort of greens for the first ten years of my life.  I’m a sucker for anything vinegary, and it took a few more years for me to be a sucker for greens like I am now.

This stuff is so simple to make, and really delicious.  You can can it for realzies like we did the other day, but it lasts in the fridge for weeks without any sort of formal preservation method.  I promise.  You’ll love it!

Here’s what you need:

  • 2 cups slaw mix (cabbage and carrots)
  • 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/2 red bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • water, as needed


Simple, right?  I love using slaw mix for this – you can often find it on sale, and it cuts your prep time way down.  Of course, you can thinly slice some cabbage and grate a small carrot yourself to get about 2 cups of veggies – if you have that kind of time.

To start, let’s prep the onion and pepper.  Thinly slice the onion, and cut the slices in half so you have 1-inch pieces or so if the slices are very long.

Thinly slice onion

Then, cut the pepper half into long strips, then cut them into little bits so we have small bits of pepper.

Chop pepper

Now, add the slaw mix, onion, and pepper to a pan that just holds all the veggies – they’ll shrink down a lot as they cook, so it’s OK if the pan is full at first.  Turn the pan to medium heat.  Note that we don’t use any fat in this recipe, so I like to use a nonstick skillet for this.

Add veggies to the pan

Now, add the turmeric and celery salt to the pan.

Add celery seed and turmeric

Use tongs to toss the spices with the veggies!

Use tongs to incorporate spices

Add the vinegar, sugar, and 1/2 cup of water, then toss again.  Adjust the heat as needed so that the chow chow is gently bubbling but not boiling like crazy. Add more water as needed so that there is always a little bit of sauce in the pan.  Let the chow chow cook for 15 – 30 minutes until the veggies are soft but not falling apart.  They’ll continue to soften as they sit in the fridge, so don’t worry if the veggies still have some crunch left in them.

Toss and simmer gently

Now, taste the chow chow!  Add more salt, sugar, or vinegar – it’s totally your call.  I like more salt and vinegar compared to sugar, but some people really like a sweeter chow chow.  Optional:  a teaspoon of crushed red pepper for a REAL kick.  My mom likes it this way.

Simmer with water until soft

That’s it!  You have made a quick, delicious pickle that can be served on EVERYTHING.

Serve from a cute jar

I like to serve this in a cute mason jar, and it’s especially great over any kind of greens.

Serve over greens

Enjoy this!  It’s impressive but SO simple.


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