If you’re like us, you have a few varieties of cucumbers on your refrigerator at home.
You might even keep them packed away in the fridge to use as needed throughout the year.
But what if we told you that there was another type of cucumber out there?
And what if we told you it had its own pickling method?
What are gherkins?
Gherkins (also known as cucumbers) are a vegetable that are harvested early on before they are mature enough to be considered fully grown.
This makes them a great choice for pickling because they are tender when they first come into the market.
They also tend to have less water content than other types of cucumbers.
This means that they can absorb more flavors from their brining solution.
What is a gherkin?
The word “gherkin” comes from the French word “goujon,” which means “pickle fork.”
These forks were used by butchers during the Middle Ages to dig around inside the belly of animals to remove the entrails.
As butchers would pull the intestines out of the animal, they would slice off pieces with these tools, which became known as “gherkins.”
What are gherkins used for?
Gherkins are typically eaten raw or cooked as part of a meal, but they are often used as an ingredient in recipes.
Some people add them to salads, sandwiches, and soups while others enjoy eating them straight up.
You can find them sliced into long strips and used as garnishes for dishes such as eggs, meatloaf, and burgers.
People who love hot dogs will often eat them right out of the jar.
How are gherkins grown?
Gherkins are usually picked green and then allowed to ripen naturally for a period of time.
The longer they are left to ripen, the sweeter they become.
But this process can take months for some varieties.
Others prefer to pick them earlier so they don’t go through the natural ripening process.
In both cases, farmers need to carefully monitor those plants to ensure that the quality is consistent.
What is the nutritional value of gherkins?
When you think of gherkins, you probably think of a pickle (and you wouldn’t be wrong).
Pickles are one of the best ways to get healthy vegetables into your diet, especially if you love spicy foods.
However, gherkins are much healthier than most pickles since they contain fewer calories and carbohydrates.
Plus, they are more nutritious overall.
A half cup serving of gherkins contains just 3 grams of sugar per serving.
Gherkins also offer a variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, folate, pantothenic acid, zinc, manganese, and copper.
Are gherkins good for you?
Gherkins are delicious and nutritious, making them a great addition to any dish.
When you eat them raw, they provide a nice crunchy texture that’s perfect for snacking on.
How do gherkins taste?
Gherkins are very mild in flavor.
If you aren’t familiar with them, you may not notice their presence at all.
This is why many people choose to add them to salads rather than use them as an ingredient in its own right.
What is the history of gherkins?
Gherkins have been around since ancient times.
The Romans are credited with introducing them to Europe in the 1st century AD.
They were eventually brought to America by Christopher Columbus during his journey to the Caribbean.
During World War II, gherkins were commonly used as a source of vitamin C due to their high levels of vitamin B1.
How are gherkins prepared?
There are multiple methods for preparing gherkins.
Some prefer to use a salt brine while others prefer to use a vinegar marinade.
Either way, gherkins are pickled using either salt or vinegar and served as snacks or side dishes.
What are some interesting facts about gherkins?
Gherkins are actually classified as fruits.
This classification can make identifying them difficult for children and adults alike.
While many people may consider cucumbers to be fruit, they technically are not.
In addition, gherkins have a unique shape and form that resembles the male reproductive organ.
This is likely due to the fact that gherkins are pickled and the pickle is shaped like a penis.
You can learn more about how this came to be by reading our article on the history of pickles.
You can find gherkins in supermarkets, specialty stores, and online.
Look for pickles that are bright green in color and firm to the touch.
Gherkins should be stored in a cool environment, and you should only buy what you plan to consume within two weeks.
- 1 kg gherkins
- ¼ cup salt not iodised
- 2 cups white vinegar
- 2 cups water
- Pickling spice about 1 teaspoon per jar
- Fresh dill a couple of sprigs per jar
- Wash, pat dry and trim the gherkins at both ends, then place them in a large clean bowl, sprinkle on the salt and store in a cool place until the salt has liquidized (a few hours)
- When you are ready to go, bring to the boil the water and vinegar.
- Rinse the gherkins with boiling water, drain and then rinse again. Put the gherkins into hot jars that have been sterilized and add pickling spice and fresh dill.
- Fill the jars almost to the top with the water/vinegar liquid and run a knife around inside the jar to get rid of any air bubbles. Top up the jar with liquid until it is just overflowing and using a cloth (as the jars will be very hot) tightly screw on the lids.
- Wipe down the jars and leave to cool on the bench.
- Gherkins will be ready in around three weeks. Put the jar in the fridge for a few hours to cool before eating.