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Chow-Chow (Pennsylvania Dutch Pickled Vegetables)

Makes 16 pints

The Pennsylvania Dutch are famous for their pickles, relishes and condiments, often served as part of the traditional 'sweets and sours' with a large meal. Chow-Chow has always been one of the favorites. It is made up of a variety of vegetables that are in season near the end of the summer. I remember the ladies of a church in Dryville, PA, some of whom were my relatives, making batches of chow-chow for a fund-raiser, along with beef vegetable soup, which is in the similar and related recipes. This was my grandmother's recipe, probably the same or very similar to the chow-chow that was made at that church. It is, without a doubt, the best chow-chow I have ever tasted. The only one that came close was purchased at a farmers' market in Asheville, NC. In this recipe, the vegetables are cut into small pieces whereas, in most other versions, they are processed or shredded. Obviously, chow-chow takes some effort to prepare, but every delicious jar is worth it, and you will reap the rewards for months.


Cook dried beans separately, according to package directions, until tender. Rinse with cold water and drain. Set aside. Cook all other fresh vegetables separately until crisp-tender; drain and immerse immediately in ice water. This will stop the cooking and help retain color. Set aside.

Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in large stockpot or kettle large enough to hold all ingredients. Bring to a boil, being certain sugar and salt are completely dissolved. Add the cooked beans, vegetables, canned onions and gherkins. Bring back to boil, then reduce heat and keep at a simmer. Place in hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/2-inch head space, and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes at an altitude up to 1,000 feet, 15 minutes at 1,000 to 6,000 feet. (Processing times are based on guidelines provided by the USDA National Food Safety Database.)

Notes: The recipe can be made in smaller amounts and, rather than canning and processing, kept in the refrigerator for up to two months.