My recipe for chowchow starts with the cornerstones of cabbage, sweet peppers, and onions. But from there, just about anything goes. I like corn in my chowchow, too, and I always add a chile pepper for a bit of heat. But other options (to be salted with the other vegetables) include green or yellow wax beans, green tomatoes, or zucchini. So use this recipe as a springboard for your own chowchow.
- Mix the cabbage, corn, red bell pepper, cucumbers, onion, jalapeño, and salt in a large colander and place the colander in the sink. Put a plate to fit inside the colander on top of the vegetables, and weigh down with a few large, heavy cans of food or more plates. Let stand for 1 hour to crisp and drain off excess juices.
- Bring the vinegar, brown sugar, dry mustard, celery seed, and turmeric to a boil over high heat in a nonreactive large saucepan over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar; do not inhale the fumes. Add the vegetable mixture (do not rinse, and return the liquid to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the chowchow with its liquid to a medium bowl and let cool to warm. Transfer the chowchow with its liquid to a clean 1-quart jar. Cover and refrigerate overnight to blend the flavors. (The chowchow can be refrigerated for at least 3 weeks. Serve at room temperature.)
Rick Rodgers is an award-winning cooking teacher and the author of over 40 cookbooks on a wide range of subjects, including The Big Book of Sides (Ballantine). In addition to writing the TasteBook.com column ‘”Tips from the Test Kitchen,” Rick works with entertainment figures, corporations, and celebrity chefs on their cookbooks. His clients include Tommy Bahama, Frankie Avalon, Patti LaBelle, and Williams-Sonoma. See more of his work on www.RickRodgers.com.