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Fermented Chow Chow

Fermented Chow Chow Recipe

Prep Time 20 minutes
resting time 2 hours
Servings 3 quart jars or 1 quart and 4 pints


  • 1 lb red cabbage ½ large red cabbage
  • 2 green bell peppers
  • 2 medium green tomatoes equivalent amount of tomatillos may be used
  • 1 medium ear of corn uncooked (3/4 cup thawed frozen corn may be used)
  • ½ medium onion
  • optional spices: ¼ tsp chili pepper flakes, ½ tsp mustard seeds, ¼ celery seeds. (use all or some, chili pepper flakes help dissuade mold during the fermenting process)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • fine sea salt
  • water: well spring, reverse osmosis preferred – if using city water, let water sit in quart jar overnight, uncovered
  • parchment paper
  • large bowl
  • kitchen scale that zeros out
  • 3 wide-mouth quart jars with rings or 6 wide-mouth pint jars
  • glass weight pebbles alternative options are shared below & a link to purchase these is near the top of the post.
  • canning funnel
  • labels


  1. Chop red cabbage, onion, green tomato, green pepper, and garlic. Cut corn off of cob.

  2. Place an empty bowl on a kitchen scale, and press the power/zero button.
  3. Fill a bowl with the vegetables, and note the weight. *IF your kitchen scale does not show grams as a unit option, you will need to use Google to to calculate how many grams your ounces of vegetables are. (You can ask Google: How many grams are 42 ounces? The answer here is 1219.029. Now use a calculator to multiply your “grams” answer by 2.5%. This will give you how many grams of salt you need. We need to ask Google to translate grams into tablespoons. (Search Google: How many tablespoons are in X amount of grams. This gives me 1 ¾ Tablespoons of salt.)

  4. *If you don’t have a scale, you can also use my calculations based on the ingredients and taste test after you have everything mixed together. You can add between 1 ¾ and 2 Tablespoons of salt.
  5. Prepare your brine by filling a quart jar with water. Add your designated amount of salt. Place a lid on the jar, and shake vigorously to incorporate the salt.
  6. Mix the vegetables thoroughly, and fill your canning jars to ½ inch below the rings. Using a canning funnel makes this process easy and less messy.
  7. Pour the brine into the jar until the vegetables are completely covered.
  8. Place glass pebbles weights on top of jars to keep vegetables under the brine. **If you don’t have glass pebbles, small jelly jars can be used or use small ziploc bags filled with water. The goal is to keep vegetables submerged to reduce the opportunity for mold growth.
  9. Cut round circles in your parchment paper, approximately six inches in circumference, and place on top of your jar. Screw the lid onto the parchment paper, leaving it loose.
  10. Place a label on your jar, identifying your ferment, ingredients, and date.
  11. Store your ferments on the counter in an area that is typically between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
  12. Check on your chow chow daily, and start tasting on day three. It should be at peak taste between days three and five. Store it in the refrigerator.

Recipe Notes

Salt: Fine sea salt or Himalayan sea salt is preferred for fermenting. Iodized salt will stop the fermenting process, as will any caking type salts. 

Storing Ferments: Keep the jars of chow chow in a cool place between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. It does not have to be  a dark place. The counter top is fine. I would avoid storing ferments in the basement, as they tend to be  damp and may have mold spores present.