Pennsylvania Dutch Food Highlight: Pickled Eggs and Chow Chow

Melissa Frost
Photo by Natalie Rhea on Unsplash

Pennsylvania Dutch Foods are amazing, aren't they? When pickled, all the better. Today it's all about modest foods made delicious by pickling. If you're into this art of preserving foods, you probably know that the summer season is the best time to can and preserve it.

Chow Chow

Chow Chow is a sweet and sour mix of pickled vegetables. More often than not, you'll find it served as a side, complementing a hearty Pennsylvania Dutch meal. Its ingredients vary considerably, depending on whether it is the Northern, primarily Pennsylvanian, or Southern variety.

This recipe by The Amish Village is one I trust, although I haven't made it myself. I have tried their canned goods, and it's some of the best I've found in Lancaster:

  • 2 quarts green beans
  • 1 large head cauliflower, separated in flowerets
  • 3 cups shelled lima leans
  • 3 cups fresh whole kernel corn
  • 1 quart onions, chopped
  • 5 green peppers chopped
  • 2 quarts green tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 quarts cider vinegar
  • 4 cups sugar
  • ½ cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons celery seed
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard seed
  • 2 tablespoons dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric

Cut the beans into ½ inch pieces. Cook green beans, cauliflower, lima beans, and corn separately in boiling water until just tender. Drain. Mix the onions, peppers, and tomatoes with the cooked vegetables in a large heavy kettle. Bring the vinegar to boiling and stir in a mixture of the sugar, salt, celery seed, mustard seed, dry mustard, and turmeric. Pour vinegar mixture over vegetables; bring to a boil, cook 20 to 25 minutes, or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally. Pour the mix into sterilized jars and seal.

Pickled Eggs

Pickled eggs are hard-boiled eggs, pickled with a mix of spices and freshly cooked red beets. The beet juice mixture allows for a gorgeous pink color in the egg whites while the yolk stays a nice golden yellow. The eggs can be consumed on their own, in a salad, as a potluck-dish; options are many.

I have never made pickled eggs myself, but my neighbor gifted me a few a while back and this recipe featured in Hearth & Vine is pretty close to what she made:

  • 3 large beets washed and most of the tops cut off
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 teaspoon clove powder
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3 hard boiled eggs peeled

Boil the beets in water until tender. Then, peel and slice the beets. Place beets and eggs in a 1 quart mason jar. Pour vinegar, sugar and water into a medium saucepan. Add spices and bring to a boil. Stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Pour the pickling liquid over the beets and eggs. Let it cool slightly before moving to the refrigerator.

Now, you just have to wait about a day until they're ready to be enjoyed. Yum.

What are your favorite Pennsylvania Dutch Foods?

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Melissa is a journalist and content writer. She covers food, travel and local news, mostly from PA.

Lititz, PA

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