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Green Tomato Chow

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When I was raising a family the months of August on into September were always a busy ones for me. It was spent picking and harvesting vegetables and fruits, prepping them for the freezer or canning jams, jellies and pickles.  I haven’t done a lot of that since moving here to the UK.  First of all there are only two of us to feed now, and secondly I was lacking in confidence as the same materials I used to can and preserve were not available to me here. I have done the odd small batch of jam and preserves.  This year however I decided to make Green Tomato Chow.
I used my ex MIL’s recipe and cut it in half, because again . . .  there are only two of us, but this chow is something I had not tasted in over 20 years and was  something I was missing.  It truly is the best Green Tomato Chow I have ever tasted.

A part of the impetus for me to make this was discovering I could buy green chutney tomatoes from The Tomato Stall.  I thought about it for a few weeks and then thought about how much I missed this fabulous pickle and decided what the heck, I’m going to go for it!
Its really not that hard to make. A bit time consuming, but then again all the best things in life are. You will need to slice a quantity of green tomatoes and onions and leave them to soak in a mixture of salted water over night.
The next day you drain them well and then add them to a large saucepan along with more water and some vinegar . . .  and some pickling spice.

I made a tiny muslin bag to put the pickling spice in. You crush it with a rolling pin and add it to he pot.

I added a along thread so that I could tie it to the handle of the saucepan (I used a large stock pot) making it easier to fish out when done. You cook it for a while, add whie and brown sugars, cook it for a while longer and then you add a paste of cornflour, dry mustard powder and turmeric, and a chopped red pepper and cook it over a low heat for several hours until it gets nice and thick. Your house will smell amazing while it is cooking.  AMAZING!

The jars I used for this were Weck Jars, the 580ml size, that came with rubber seals, glass lids and metal clips to use while processing.  I was a bit unsure about how that would work as I had never used these kinds of jars before.

But it worked very well.  Just research canning with Weck Jars on YouTube and you will come up with tutorials. I processed my jars, clips on, in a water bath for 45 minutes.  I did some on top of the stove in simmering water and the rest in my pressure/instant pot and as you can see I got a perfect seal. 

I feel totally confident now that this pickle is sealed properly and will keep safely without refrigeration.

You will of course need to refrigerate it after opening.

A half recipe gave me about 5 1/2 pints. I may end up having to give some of it away as I am not sure we will use it all, but we are surely going to enjoy it while it lasts!

I always liked my MIL’s Green Tomato Chow better than my mothers.  Elizabeth’s was sweeter and thicker.

More like a relish with a nice sweet and sour mild mustard flavour . . .

Elizabeth is in her 90′s now. I have not seen her for many years and she is living in a Senior’s complex in Nova Scotia.  It has been many years since she has done any cooking or preserving.  I had intitially misplaced my recipe for this, but I emailed her a number of years back and she quite happily shared the recipe with me again Of all my ex in-laws, I miss her and my SIL Micheline and her husband the most. That is the sad part of divorce   . . .  losing family.
Green Tomato Chow
Yield: 12 pints
Author: Marie Rayner
prep time: 25 hourcook time: 3 hourtotal time: 28 H
This is my ex mil’s recipe. I have been making it for many years. Its the best green tomato chow. Yield is a guestimate. Prepare yourself to fall in love.
  • 9 pounds of green tomatoes (approximately 4 kg.)
  • 6 pounds onions (2 1/2 kg)
  • 1 cup salt (240g)
  • 4 cups water (946ml)
  • 4 cups white vinegar (946ml)
  • 2 additional cups water (480ml)
  • 1/2 cup pickling spices (70g)
  • 2 1/2 pounds white sugar (1.2 kg)
  • 2 1/2 pounds soft light brown sugar (1.1 kg)
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch (75g)
  • 2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 red bell pepper, washed, trimmed and chopped finely
  1. Wash and slice your tomatoes into half moons. Peel your onions and also slice into half moons.  Place both into a large bowl or nonreactive saucepan. Add the first quantity of water and the salt.  Give it a good stir to mix.  Cover with a tea towel and leave to soak overnight.
  2. Drain well in the morning.
  3. Put the pickling spice into a small cloth bag and tie shut. Crush lightly with a rolling pin.
  4. Put the drained vegetables into a large saucepan. Add the second amount of water and the vinegar.  Put the cloth bag of spices into the pan. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and allow to simmer for half an hour.
  5. Add both sugars and simmer for another half hour.
  6. Stir together the cornstarch, dry mustard powder and turmeric. Add a little bit of the simmering liquid and make a paste.  Stir this back into the vegetables. Add the chopped pepper.
  7. Cook over low heat for 1 to 2 hours, until thick.
  8. Spoon into sterilized jars and seal according to manufacturers instructions.
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If you only can one thing this season, you can’t do wrong by making this Green Tomato Chow. In my opinion, it is quite simply the best. 
This content (written and photography) is the sole property of  The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: [email protected]   

Debunking the myths of English Cookery, one recipe at a time.
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