Savour food – Green Tomatoes got you in a pickle?

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I’m going to dedicate this post to longtime clients Candy and Lucia who love to go on my farm tours and who love to garden and cook. I recently ran into them at Slow Food Calgary’s Feast of Fields and learned that due to a very slow start to our high altitude summer they have a lot of green tomatoes.
Don’t worry women. Here’s a recipe that will please the Green Tomato Goddess Divine herself. It’s called Green Tomato Chow Chow and it’s an old standard in New Brunswick. I used to watch my Mom and Dad make it every fall. She cut the tomatoes and he cut the onions. Later I joined in. We would never have a turkey dinner or tortiere at Christmas without it.
Thanks to my friends, Karen and Tony Legault of for giving me a lovely 10lb box of green “Big Dina” beefsteaks for my pickling project. I promised to bring them a few jars when I take 46 folks to see their farm this weekend.
Green Tomato Chow Chow
8lbs green tomatoes
5lbs onions
salt as needed (about 1/2 cup)
10 cups brown sugar
1/2 gallon white vinegar (or just enough to cover the tomato/onion mix)
1 pkg of pickling mix tied in a cloth bag
1. Slice the tomatoes and onions in rings and layer in a very large non-reactive bowl, sprinkling each layer lightly with salt.
2. Leave them overnight or for about 8 hours.
3. Drain the water that results, rinse them in cold water and drain them again.
4. Place the mix in a large pot with the sugar, enough vinegar to cover, and the spice bag.
5. Bring to a boil and then turn to simmer until the juices reduce and become a bit thick sticky (Mom’s word) and brown (about two hours)
6. Meanwhile boil the water in the canning bath
7. Transfer all the mix to awaiting sterile jars on a tray (makes about 19 cups)
8. Cover them and boil them in canning jar for 15 – 20 minutes.
9. Remove them to layered tea towels on the counter and let settle overnight. The lids should all be sucked down overnight. I love hearing that popping noise.
10. Enjoy this with a dab of greek yogurt on roasted potatoes, with tortiere, meats of all kinds but especially with a good turkey dinner.
This is the kind of pickle I like to get into. Cheers, Karen


  1. Lucia Pfeuti

    Hi Karen! This recipe looks great! It sounded so yummy when you told Candy and I about it at Feast of Fields ~ and thanks for the dedication. As far as the green tomatoes, who knew we would have such a fabulous fall – Mother Nature definitely helped us out this year. In fact I finally took all my tomatoes off just 10 days ago, and yes, I had some red ones on the vine! I will give the recipe a try as long as my tomatoes don’t all turn red before I get to making it! Thanks again, and what a fantastic blog.

    Cheers, Lucia

    1. Karen Anderson

      Hi Kim,
      Yes, I know that 10 cups of brown sugar sounds like a lot but there’s also a lot of vinegar to think about and then there’s also the need to think about what you’ll be serving this chutney with. We typically serve it with our Christmas Tortiere and other meat pies and meat dishes. It really adds a lovely accent without seeming overly sweet or cloying. If you do cut it back, I would start at 8 cups and taste it before bottling, while it is still hot, to see if that suits your palate. Since it is not a jelly that needs sugar to set, feel free to tweak it to your taste. Bon appetit! Karen

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