Green Tomato Chow

Monday 10 August 2020

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

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. 

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  1. I love pickling!So cute,and when I make my mother-in-laws ketchup/chow I use a cute bag too:)
    Your jars are adorb..SO hard to get the lids off though after

    1. I haven't tried that yet. I guess I am in for some fun! LOL xoxo

  2. Do you use pickling salt or regular table salt?


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