cookbooks

Chow-chow. Mrs. Alice Kraner. Recipe

Chow-chow, a tangy and flavorful relish, has a long history and is known for its versatility and ability to enhance a variety of dishes. Originally a method of preserving vegetables, this recipe has been passed down through generations, each with their own unique twist. The word "chow-chow" is believed to have originated from the Chinese term "cha chá", which means a mix of various ingredients.

Fun fact: Chow-chow has its roots in the southern United States, where it was popularized as a way to preserve surplus garden produce, particularly during the summer and fall months. It gained popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and has been a staple in Southern cuisine ever since.

Now, let's dive into Mrs. Alice Kraner's cherished recipe for Chow-chow:

Ingredients:
- One quart of green cucumbers, cut lengthwise
- One dozen small cucumbers, whole
- One dozen small onions
- One large cauliflower, chopped into small florets
- One quart of small green tomatoes

For Brine:
- ½ cup salt
- Water

For the Pickling Solution:
- Two and one-half quarts of vinegar
- Two and one-half cups of sugar
- One cup of flour
- Six tablespoonfuls of mustard
- Pepper and other spices to taste

Instructions:

1. Start by preparing the vegetables. Cut the green cucumbers lengthwise and leave the small cucumbers whole. Peel and slice the onions. Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Finally, quarter the small green tomatoes.

2. In a large bowl, make a brine solution by dissolving ½ cup of salt in enough water to cover the cucumbers. Place the green cucumbers in the brine solution and let them soak for three days. This process helps to add flavor and crunch to the cucumbers.

3. Meanwhile, scald the rest of the vegetables (onions, cauliflower, and green tomatoes) in salted water for about 5 minutes. This step helps to partially cook the vegetables and enhance their flavor. Drain the vegetables after scalding.

4. In a large pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, flour, mustard, and spices. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until it thickens to a smooth consistency.

5. Once the pickling solution has thickened, add the scalded vegetables to the pot and let them simmer for about 10 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld and for the vegetables to absorb the pickling solution.

6. Drain the brined green cucumbers and add them to the pot along with the other vegetables. Stir gently to coat the vegetables with the pickling solution.

7. Once everything is well combined, carefully pour the mixture into sterilized jars, ensuring there is enough liquid to completely cover the vegetables. Seal the jars tightly.

8. Process the filled jars in a boiling water bath canner for about 10-15 minutes to ensure proper preservation. This step helps to create a vacuum seal and extend the shelf life of the chow-chow.

9. Allow the jars to cool completely before storing them in a cool, dark place. The flavors of the chow-chow will continue to develop and improve over time.

Now, you have a batch of Mrs. Alice Kraner's delicious chow-chow, ready to enjoy with various dishes. This versatile relish pairs well with grilled meats, sandwiches, cheese platters, or even as a topping for hot dogs or burgers. Its tangy and slightly sweet flavor profile adds a delightful punch to any dish.

Similar recipe dishes: If you're a fan of chow-chow, you might also enjoy trying out other pickled relishes like piccalilli or giardiniera. These condiments are made with a combination of vegetables and spices, giving them a unique and delicious taste. Additionally, you can explore other Southern favorites like bread and butter pickles or sweet relish made with cucumbers and sweet onions. The possibilities are endless, so don't be afraid to get creative in the kitchen!

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