Pots for canning

terrydenise(z7a OK/USA)October 22, 2008

I have never canned before so I've got some questions.

Do I need special pots for this process or can I use a stock pot for "boiling water canning"?

I have a lot of green tomatoes so I wanted to make chow-chow and the recipes ask for a peck of tomatoes, 6 onions, 6 green peppers and a large head of cabbage. That sounds like a lot of ingredients to cook at once so I will need the stock pot for that process at first.

I'm feeling really dumb right now because I know this can't really be as hard as I'm thinking it is. The more I read, the more equipment, it seems, that I need. I don't have any pots deep enough to cover the pint jars enough for boiling except for the stock pot and only four or five jars fit in the bottom.

So, after the jars are filled, do you just boil the few that fit until they are all done? Thats an all day production. I don't mind, but, do I have the equipment (1 stock pot) that is needed to get this done?

How would you estimate the number of jars needed for all those vegetables?

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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

First of all, welcome to the forum!

You can cut the recipe in half or fourths if you like, just keep the ratios the same.

You could then use a large dutch oven or sauce pot for cooking the chow chow and use the stock pot for BWB (boiling water bath) since it only holds 4-5 jars at a time anyway. BE sure you have something on the bottom to keep the jars from sitting directly on the bottom of the pot. In a pinch, you can even use a dish towel (won't burn because of the water).

Please make sure you are using an approved recipe. There are lots out there from "grandma" that are no longer safe.
You can post your recipe here and we can help determine safety.

Here's a link to a great site for preserving with all the basics!! I've got it bookmarked and reference it all the time!


Here is a link that might be useful: National Center for Home Food Preservation

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 3:12PM
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terrydenise(z7a OK/USA)

1 peck green tomatoes
1 large head cabbage
6 onions
6 green peppers
1 Tbsp mustard seed
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
2 tbsp non-iodized salt
2 qts cider vinegar
4 c sugar
Grind tomatoes and drain over night.
Grind onions, pepper and cabbage. Mix all together and cook about 35 to 40 minutes.
Seal hot.

Thats all there is to the directions so I've been searching for recipes to find more detailed instructions.
As for grinding, I'm not sure what that means but I thought I would chop in the Black & Decker food chopper that I have.
I found one recipe that said to cook only 8 minutes and pour into sterilized jars and seal and don't open for two weeks.
Does this relish not have to be canned in boiling water?

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 3:49PM
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terrydenise(z7a OK/USA)

dgkritch, I'm sorry, I didn't say THANK YOU for welcoming me to the harvesting forum. I am in a hurry and forget to use my manners some times. tsk, tsk

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 4:04PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Hi terrydenise - and welcome! Your recipe is missing the canning and processing instructions but we can give you those. What is the source of your recipe?

The Ball Blue Book has a good Chow-Chow recipe in it - approved and tested - and NCHFP has an approved Rummage Relish that is very close to your list above. I'll link it below. Approved and tested recipes will always tell you haow many pints the recipe will make. eg. the Rummage Relish makes 8 pints and the Ball recipe makes 4 pints.

Chow-Chow Relish (recipe BBB)
Ingredients for 4 pints
4 cup cabbage chopped
3 cup cauliflower chopped
2 cup onions chopped
2 cup Chopped green tomatoes
2 cup Chopped sweet green peppers
1 cup Chopped sweet red peppers
3 tablespoon salt
2 1/2 cup Heinz pure vinegar, 5% acid
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon mustard dry
2 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon Mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon ginger

Combine chopped vegetables; sprinkle with salt. Let stand 4 to 6 hours in a cool place. Drain well.

Prepare home canning jars and lids according to manufacturer's instructions.

Combine vinegar, sugar, and spices; simmer 10 minutes. Add vegetables; simmer 10 minutes. Bring to boiling. Carefully ladle hot relish into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust caps.

Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath canner.

Your stock pot should work if deep enough otherwise you will need to invest in a bigger stock pot. Stainless steel is the best but the blue spatterware enamel ones work too and are much cheaper.

Plus check out these previous discussions on Chow-Chow for more tips and details on what is safe and unsafe:



Hope this is of help.


Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP - Rummage Relish Recipe

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 4:36PM
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terrydenise(z7a OK/USA)

I got this one from my grandmothers recipe box. She used to make it every year and we always loved getting another jar.
She passed away in 2006 so I can't ask her how to make it or can it. I never watched her can anything so I haven't any memories to call on.
Her recipe doesn't have turmeric in it. Does turmeric have a strong taste or does it give things a taste that makes it better with rather than without?
Thank you for helping me with this.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 6:39PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Turmeric has a bit of a spicy mustard taste but its main role in the recipe is to give it a little yellow color similar to what you would see in some of the hotdog relishes. You can easily leave it out without any safety issues.

Your grandmothers recipe is more of a sweet relish recipe with the cider vinegar and all the sugar so I'd probably be inclined to leave turmeric out. Your choice.

The only real problem I see with your recipe is that (1) she didn't pre-brine the ingredients with the salt and let sit for several hours. While that isn't technically required, it does give you a better end result that is much less watery and a bit firmer in texture as it draws out much of the excess water in the vegetables (I suggest you rinse the vegetables well after the salting before adding them to the syrup - makes the relish much less salty) and (2) she just hot sealed the jars - no processing. That is not considered safe so if you use the BWB for 10 mins. as recommended in the approved recipes you should be ok.

The "grinding" was done with one of these in grandma's day. Many of us still use one for many things. ;) You can do it with a food processor but it will have a more coarse texture than grandma's did.


    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 10:24PM
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terrydenise(z7a OK/USA)

I have one of those meat grinders and I packed it away somewhere because I didn't have a use for it. Maybe thats what she used.
I chopped everything with my chopper and it's going to sit with the salt overnight.
My grandmothers chow-chow was sweet so I guess I won't add the turmeric so it won't have any unfamiliar flavor.
I think she did use heat to can but I don't know if it was a pressure cooker or just boiling water. That must have been something that her and her friends knew to do without directions when they exchanged recipes so they left it out.
Thank you all.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2008 at 11:30PM
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melva02(z7 VA)

Terry, if your stock pot is as thin as mine, it won't be much good for relish. I find a need a thick-bottomed pot to keep things from burning, unless they're very watery like stock or pickle brine. Definitely cut the recipe to whatever amount will fit in there. Fill enough jars to fill your boiling water bath canner, then leave the rest of the relish in the pot with the heat off while you process the first batch. When it's done, reheat the relish to a full boil and do another round.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 12:03AM
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terrydenise(z7a OK/USA)

I found another pot that I think is big enough and thicker than the stock pot to do half the recipe.
I don't want to burn it. That wouldn't be a familiar flavor.
I wondered about whether to put it in the jars all at the same time or not. I was thinking I would do that and let them sit and wait their turn in the boiling water before you said to leave it in the pot and wait.
Thanks Melissa.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 12:31AM
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I would not have the filled jars waiting their turn in the HWB. Keep it hot in the pot on a back burner. As soon as the first batch in the HWB comes to a boil, start filling the next batch. Timing should be about right for the next batch to go into the HWB.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 7:07AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Again Welcome,

Tumeric actually has very little flavor. Its a ground up root, and is used mostly for the color. Ever see yellow curry? Thats from adding tumeric. Many commercial picklers use it to give a bright yellow color and it offsets the green of the tomatoes. A boiling water bath pot should be very big and tall. At some point you may want to make quarts of something and a pot that can hold up to 7 quart jars, as well as a rack inside the bottom (VERY IMPORTANT!!) and still have at least 2 inches of water covering over the tops of the jars. Using just a single pot for making the contents and also for the BWB canning process will be very difficult to deal with as you need to keep the contents boiling hot while filling the jars, then into a boiling water bath, which would require the single pot to be emptied, washed, filled with water, then brought to a boil. Suffice to say you will need both larger burners on your stove to accomplish the task. Many smaller hardware stores like ACE and TrueValue have canning pot kits, that include tongs, a magentic lid lifter, funnel, and such for little money. Expect to spend a bit of $$ at your first attempts, but after you get the equipment, you should be able to just spend money on supplies. Obviously pickling salt is VERY necessary, as its the type used to remove the excess water from the veggies, as well as in any brine making. The meat grinder, if it has just a very small holed plate for making hamburger, may not give a decent texture to your Chow Chow. A food processor with a spinning blade can give decent chopping as well as a mix of different sized bits. If you can determine the grinder number (size), they offer grinder plates of many sizes and hole diameters for larger chopping .
A big pot with a thick metal clad bottom would be great to use to reduce burning at the bottom. Some people are in a hurry to get the contents up to boiling and will switch onto to HIGH. I recall a few years back when a friend wanted to reheat my italian sauce and it was in an enamled pot stored in the fridge. He switched it to high and it cracked the glaze at the bottom within minutes. Dangerous to eat! That glaze was mostly glass chips! I had to throw out the whole batch of sauce! Start at a low setting and stir while bringing up the heat a little. It can take a half hour to heat the mixture to a boil, but it depends on the amount and size/height of the cooking pot. Aluminum should NOT be used for the cooking of the contents, but is fine for the boiling water bath part. You can fill a batch of jars immediatly headed for the canner, but I would hold off filling more jars, and would reduce the heat for the mixture down to low or simmer while waiting for the processing to complete. If its just 1 or 2 pint jars, and thats all that is left in the mixture pot, then you can fill, cap and hold them for the next BWB processing.

Please use BWB (Boiling Water Bath) as oppposed to HWB as a hot water bath is not the currently approved method for home canning anything.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grinder plates

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 10:48AM
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terrydenise(z7a OK/USA)

Thank you ksrogers for the info on turmeric. I made only half the recipe so I think I'll make the other half with turmeric to add variety.
The chopper that I used chopped everything pretty well but there were a few large pieces that I had to fish out.
The grinder I have packed away has different grinder plates with it so I'm going to search for it and find a use for it.
My pot was just big enough for half the recipe so I won't have to invest in another pot to store in my cabinet.
I just finished and the lids popped when they started cooling. Will they loose their seal a few days or so after they're canned if it isn't done right?
Time for the next batch. I've gotta use up all those green tomatoes.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 2:09PM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

Let the jars sit for 24 hours before removing rings. If you have a good seal, it's fine. You should be able to see that the lids are concave and if you press on them, they don't make any sound. An unsealed lid will "pop" up and down when pressed. These can be refrigerated and eaten soon.
The "pinging" of lids sealing is the best sound!!

Congratulations on your first canning. Now, watch out, or you'll be addicted like the rest of us!! (grin)


    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 2:41PM
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terrydenise(z7a OK/USA)

A big thanks to everyone for your willingness to help in this learning process.
Now my garden has to grow a little larger or I need to eliminate a few flowers so I'll have room for vegetables to can and maybe I'll can some apples or applesauce.
The neighbors and I have apple trees that drop apples all summer. The kids use only a few to feed to the horse and mule down the road. Now I have a reason to gather them up for the humans to eat during the winter.
I have always had an apple tree in my yard where ever I've lived and the neighbors would come and gather them to take home to can or make something with and I would think, "I don't want to do that much work".
Of course now I know how wrong I was. This was so easy compared to what I thought it would be, it's hard to believe I never tried it before.
Now you see you've gotten me thinking about next years garden already by the lessons I've learned here in the last 24 hours.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2008 at 3:41PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Apple trees love to be cared for. Pruning and spraying are very necessary. I don't usuall use the fallen apples as the neighborhood has animals that seem to like them from the ground. If you have a cellar or basement, a shelf system there can hold canning jars (I assume thats what your using), as well as the equipment. My huge pot is down there right now and is only brought up when I am doing a really big batch of somthing the tomato sauces. I also have a few huge stainless mixing bowls. These hold at least 15 pounds of ground meat for making sausages. When I do make the sausages, it has to be when my fridge has a couple of empty shelves. The big bowls take up a whole shelf each.
I had just one single jar of peaches leak and spoil. It was nearly a year later when I pulled out a jar from the box, and found them to be brown, and had no liquid inside. The rest are marked 2003 and are still quite good, except for a little darkening afer all this time. I made some peach turnovers with some, using puff pastery.

If you ever decide to can in quarts, you would probably need both a big pot for the boiling water bath, as well as one for the product your canning. I like quarts for most things like pickles and pints for jellies. If I were giving these away then its smaller sizes. I only have maybe 2 cases of 8 ounce jelly jars.
A local small supermarket has some Ball quarts and they were selling them for $7.59 a box. I plan to go back and get the rest of them soon, unless they got gobbled up.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2008 at 5:35PM
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