This tangy relish from Nova Scotia native Florence Jackson makes use of shoulder-season produce. Serve it alongside meat and fish dishes to add a bright note of sweetness. While chow chow can be used immediately, consider making it ahead or canning a few jars as its flavor improves with time. If you still have tomatoes left from the harvest, be sure to check out all of our tomato recipes.
Featured in: “The Underexplored Roots of Black Cooking in Nova Scotia.”
What You Will Need
Green Tomato Chow-Chow
Florence Jackson, the author’s grandmother and a Nova Scotia native, made use of shoulder-season produce to prepare this tangy relish. It is often served with meat and fish dishes, where it adds a bright note of sweetness. While chow-chow can be used immediately, its flavor improves with time. Consider making a large batch and putting it up in properly sterilized canning jars to last through the winter months.
Yield: makes 2 Cups
7 hours, 10 minutes
- 1 1⁄4 lb. green (unripened) tomatoes, cored and finely chopped (3 cups)
- 1⁄3 lb. yellow onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
- 1⁄4 cup finely chopped green or red bell pepper
- 1 tbsp. kosher salt
- 1⁄4 tsp. brown mustard seed
- 1⁄4 tsp. coriander seeds
- 3 allspice berries
- 3 black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 whole clove
- 1⁄2 small cinnamon stick
- Pinch ground cardamom
- Pinch powdered ginger
- 2⁄3 cup white vinegar
- 2 tbsp. light brown sugar
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, and salt. Cover the bowl with a plate and let stand at room temperature for at least 6 hours, and up to overnight.
- Set a fine mesh strainer over the sink and drain the tomato mixture, gently pressing to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the liquid.
- In a small bowl, combine the mustard seeds, coriander, allspice berries, black peppercorns, bay leaf, clove, cinnamon stick, cardamom, and ginger. Transfer the mixture to a sachet made from a double layer of cheesecloth, and tie to seal.
- Transfer the tomato mixture to a medium pot. Add the vinegar, sugars, and the spice sachet, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat to maintain a gentle simmer, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the chow-chow has reduced to a fragrant, dry relish, 40–50 minutes. Chill, then serve immediately, or refrigerate in a covered jar for up to one month.