Green Tomato Chow-Chow

This is my Dad’s Green Tomato Chow-Chow recipe. I think it originates from Nova Scotia, Canada as it is also known as “Nana’s Chow-Chow. It is made only with green tomatoes and onions, vinegar and spices. All my life, I’ve eaten precious rationed portions of this delicious mixture and called it Dad’s Green Tomato Chow-Chow.

I’m here to tell you this is really good stuff.

There are many recipes for chow-chow out there, Southern recipes call for everything left in the garden that is harvested just before the first frost: cabbage, peppers, onions, cucumbers. This one is different. And, it gets better as it ages.

Wash the tomatoes, and there is no peeling or seeding required!

Green Tomato Chow-Chow

Chow Chow PicIngredients:

8 cups chopped green tomatoes

4-6 medium sweet onions, sliced

1/2 cup kosher salt

(use non-iodized salt)

2 cups granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups white vinegar

1 teaspoon turmeric

(If using fresh turmeric, shred about 1 inch of a knob)

Grating fresh turmeric

Grating fresh turmeric

2 Tablespoons Pickling Spice in a bag (I used a tea ball)

Wash and slice the tomatoes and onions.

in a large bowl, sprinkle the salt over the tomatoes and onions; set a plate on top, cover and let this sit overnight. In the morning, rinse the tomatoes and onions to remove the salt. Strain, place into a large pot with the vinegar, sugar, turmeric and pickling spice.

Simmer the tomatoes and onions with pickling spices

Simmer the tomatoes and onions with pickling spices

Green Tomato Chow-chow

Bring to a boil, reduce to an active simmer and then let this simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Stir frequently to prevent sticking.

The entire mixture will cook down to a lovely sweet, tangy concoction with a jam like consistency. This is so good on grilled meats, as a glaze for ham or chicken or as a condiment with cheese.

One of our favorite ways to have it is with beans and cornbread. It makes the meal.

Chow-chow with grilled chicken leg quarters

Chow-chow with grilled chicken leg quarters

This is what it looks like when finished

This is what it looks like when finished

My Dad says this is a real treat because it is only made with the green tomatoes picked just before the first freeze. He says he can’t pick a tomato when it can turn red on the vine. He loves his tomatoes! I know he spoiled me from store-bought tomatoes. Every year, I always grow a plant or two. Sometimes successful, sometimes not. It’s a tradition to grow tomatoes every year.

I’ve encouraged mom to make him a Green Tomato Pie because he has been fascinated with making pies that taste like apple but not using apples. In the past he’s used zucchini and Ritz crackers (separate pies), so I hope he can add green tomato soon.

Another delicious slice of Green Tomato Pie

Another delicious slice of Green Tomato Pie

When I asked mom to make him a pie, he quickly said there weren’t enough greens left and frankly he’d rather have chow-chow.

I’ll have to wrap and send him a bottle to see how he likes it.

#greentomatochowchow #chowchow #southerncooking #pickling #dadsrecipe #southernfoods #passeddownrecipes #recipesfromhome

Jar of Green Tomato Chow-Chow

Jar of Green Tomato Chow-Chow



26 thoughts on “Green Tomato Chow-Chow

  1. Pingback: Eat Fresh – What’s in Season NOW! September | Spoon Feast

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  3. I’m from Nova Scotia Canada. Glad I stumbled across this recipe. I shall e making this for sure. Just waiting for a few more tomatoes. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. My husband is from PEI and we use to be sent home with jars of ‘chow’ and i was not so sure i liked it but I had some green tomatoes this fall, found your recipe and made a batch and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!. I brought it to a pot luck and now passing your recipe on.. I like the simple ingredients. My husbands family puts other veggies in it but this simpler one is much better. i did cut down on the sugar a bit and still great. Thanks for sharing and love your blog – it is beautiful too.

  5. If some of the tomatoes in the garden are starting to turn a little red, can you use these with the green ones to make chow

  6. New Brunswick,Canada here and just finished the chopping process and in the morning will cook and bottle…Thank-you for sharing 🙂

  7. I’m in the process of making it now. It looks and sounds like my mom’s recipe. That’s what I was looking for. Thank you very much! I’ll let you know how it turns out. : )

  8. How much does this recipe yield? This is the same recipe I always made but lost it along the way. I can taste it now. Thanks for posting.

  9. Mmmm…I love chow – chow. I’m from Nova Scotia and now live far from there. But there are some dishes that cry out for chow to accompany them: any fried fish – especially mackerel and trout – and my favourite, salt cod fishcakes.

  10. On this green tomato and onion relish can you store it on a shelf or do you have to refrigerate it? Looks very good can’t wait to try it. What kind of pot can I use to cook it down in?

    • If you want to store it in your pantry, you will need to can it. I store mine in the fridge and unfortunately, it is gone before I know it. Use a stainless steel pot to cook it down, stainless is the best to cook with. My mom would say cast iron, which you can use too as long as it is well seasoned.
      This is my favorite condiment! I hope you enjoy making it and eating it as much as our family does.
      Check out my other post for Green Tomato Pie! (“Pied” Green Tomatoes – Amazing, it will blow your mind!)

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