I spent Labor Day Weekend with my mother-in-law…..and loved it! That’s not any surprise to me though because I have an awesome mother-in-law. We’ve always gotten along great. Every year we get together and make Red & Green Relish. It’s a recipe that’s been handed down from her mom and farther back. That reminds me to ask where her mom learned it from. I’ve given it away to service guys who have come to the house to fix whatever needs fixing because they said they missed their mom’s “chow chow”. I had never heard of chow chow until they said it, but have heard or seen it mentioned several times over the years since then. Apparently, the two are very similar, if not the same. It’s definitely a family favorite and it’s been mentioned that we could sell it. Sorry, I can’t give you the recipe, but I will tell you how it’s made.
We buy as many of the vegetables as possible from the farm stand or get them from my garden if I have them (not this year). They’re just sooo much fresher and tastier! It’s called ‘red & green’ because it uses red and green tomatoes and red and green peppers as the main ingredients along with onions and celery, and cabbage as a filler. The first day we clean and cut up all the vegetables and run them through the food processor being sure to get the texture just right, not too chunky and not too small. Although, that is, apparently, a matter of personal preference, because my husband’s cousin also makes it, but prefers his finely chopped. The only way I’ve ever done it is with a food processor, but up until the year that I started making it with them, Mom and Grandma used a hand grinder to grind all the vegetables. Talk about tiring and time-consuming! For the last few years, my daughter has made the food processing her job. Sadly, she was gone this year, but perhaps her interest (and herself) will return next year. This evening ritual has long been accompanied by Affy Tapples. (A brand of taffy apples) My kids love that tradition! As we’ve had some bad experiences with rotten apples the past couple of years, Grandma brought Oreos this year. They were gobbled up, but it just wasn’t the same. Back to the topic at hand.
After all the vegetables are ground, we put them in a large stock pot with salt, cover it, and let it sit overnight. The salt pulls all the juices out of the vegetables. The aroma starts to fill the house overnight and we usually wake up to the delicious scent of the mixed juices, at least near the kitchen. It starts smelling REALLY good after we add the vinegar and spices and cook it for a couple hours! After a good, healthy breakfast, usually doughnuts , but blueberry pancakes this year, we have to strain some of the juice out. We have still found that the best way to do this is by putting small amounts into a cloth bag and squeezing out the juices until we think it’s just moist enough. Then, we add the spices and vinegar and cook. The scent of the relish cooking really brings fall into the house for us. Unfortunately, we’ve had to do this earlier and earlier the past few years because of the weather and crops. I really like to make it, and my middle son even mentioned it, at the end of September or the very beginning of October. Next year, hopefully, we’ll be able to return to that tradition. Here is a picture of our finished batch this year:
What I really ‘relish’ about this weekend is the time I spend with my mother-in-law and having the whole family sharing memories of other relish weekends and creating new ones in the process. Fall is my favorite season and these shared experiences and memories are one of the reasons why.
Does your family have any special traditions that make fall memorable?
Happy Fall Y’all!
- Picalilli / Chow Chow Recipe (wellpreserved.ca)
- Canning Her Life Away in Cleveland Tennessee (sacratomatovillepost.com)
- Raining and chow chow (kylescaliforniakitchen.com)
- Apple Relish This is my first time to blog (jboester.wordpress.com)
- Gathering My Thoughts For Blogging Season (gardengirl92.wordpress.com)
- Z Cakes and Chow Chow (tennesseetransitions.wordpress.com)