Does anyone else find Gherkins pickles absolutely delicious and somewhat addicting?
I am not sure if it is because of their small shape, or their unique flavor, but I could eat a half of a jar of these tiny pickles in just one sitting.
So when I decided that I had to make them myself, I started to do some research.
What exactly is a Gherkin?
In my simple mind, I always thought that a Gherkin was a baby cucumber.
Although that is exactly what they look like, that isn’t quite true. At least not for all Gherkins.
Technically, they aren’t even considered a cucumber. However, they do belong to the same gourd family.
But they are from a different cultivator group. They produce fruit that is between 1-3 inches in length. And when Gherkins are pickled they are much more crisp and crunchy than a cucumber pickle.
However, instead of going through all of the genealogy and differences between Gherkins and cucumbers, we will concentrate on how to make Gherkins pickles.
In several countries, Gherkins pickles are also made from baby cucumbers.
Although not true Gherkins, small, early onset cucumbers can also be used in this recipe.
In fact, we were too late in ordering our Gherkin seeds this year, so we had to plant bush variety pickling cucumbers instead.
For our Classic Crispy Dill Pickle recipe, we let the cucumbers get as big as 3-5 inches.
But in order to make this recipe, we picked them when they were about 2-3 inches in length.
The key to making the Gherkins pickles crisp is to soak them in a salt water brine overnight. The salt penetrates through the skin and actually begins the pickling process immediately.
After being soaked, it is time to add spices to the Gherkins. The choice on what flavors that you want to use is up to you.
We prefer to use pickling spice along with a few extra peppercorns. But fill free to add in a little fresh garlic or dill as well.
The Waiting Period
The hardest part about this recipe is waiting at least 2 weeks before eating them!
Yes, 2 full weeks that equal 14 long days!
This will allow enough time for the brine and spices to adequately penetrate into the gherkins.
Of course you can sneak a bite any time after day 2. However, you are going to be amazed at the flavor of the gherkins pickles after week 2!
Can You Can Gherkins Pickles?
Unlike our Spicy Garlic Dill Pickles, we prefer to store these pickles in the refrigerator.
Because we have so many pickling cucumber plants we are able to make a fresh batch every couple of days throughout the summer.
That is plenty enough to get us through most of the year!
However, if you prefer to can your Gherkins pickles, it is easy to do so!
Simply follow the instructions below to cold pack the pickles. Then pour the hot brine over the top, leaving 1/2 inch headspace.
Finally, process in a hot water canning bath for 10 minutes, adjusting for altitude accordingly.
That is all there is to it! Besides, of course, making sure the jars sealed properly the next day.
Mary and Jim
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- 2 tbsp canning salt
- 1 cup water
- Tiny Cucumbers 1-3 inches in length
Canning Spices and Brine
- 12 whole peppercorns per pint jar
- ½ tsp. pickling spice per pint jar
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar per pint jar
- 1 tbsp canning salt per pint jar
In a small saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons of salt to one cup of water and heat just until salt has dissolved. Submerge the tiny cucumbers, placing a heavy object on top so they remain in the water if needed. Let them soak overnight.
Add the peppercorns and pickling spice to a pint size mason jar.
Drain the cucumbers and pack them into canning jars.
In a small saucepan add the 1 tbsp of canning salt to a cup of vinegar and bring to a boil.
Pour the brine over the pickles, leaving 1/2 inch headspace at the top of the jar. Add the lid and ring and store in the refrigerator.
Gherkins are best left to sit for 2 weeks before eating.
For Canning – process in a hot water bath canner for 10 minutes.
Recipe courtesy of Old World Garden Farms