Sunday, 1 August 2010

Pickled Gherkins

I paid a quick trip to the market on Friday and had a nosy round a new Polish Delicatessan stall on the market looking for some cervelat, (a salami style sausage that has a lot of flavour and does not last long in this household) unfortunately they didn't have any.  So I went to the small deli shop just off the market.  That shop seems to have been taken over as there were different people in there. 

However,  I found proper gherkins at 1.35 a kg so I bought 2 kg to pickle this week.  I also bought some dill off the market too. I intend to make another batch, this time using the dry brining method OH can then compare which version he likes best.

Not sure how to do this as never done gherkins before - cucumber yes - in fact the methods are very similar.  I had a search on the Internet to see if I could find anything that appeals and nothing really took my fancy.  So I hit one of the basic books I use on a regular basis The Basic Basics Jams Preserves and Chutneys Handbook by Marguerite Patten ISBN1-902304-72-1.  This book is a little gem as it gives you lots of basics by way of ingredients to let you go on and experiment yourself.

You have a choice with this recipe as basically you can have a nice crunchy pickle or a softer version  I asked OH what he fancied and this time he has gone for the softer version.  However I give the version for both as then you will have the choice suiting your own particular palate.

Dry Brine

A dry brine will produce a crisper product as the salt leaches all water out of the product being brined.  This consists basically of food being sprinkled with a good layer of salt leaving it overnight or for the length of time specified by the recipe.  The salt is then rinsed away with plenty of cold water.  So want your pickle crisp then use this option.

Wet Brine

For a softer pickle, unless specified to the contrary in the recipe you are using allow 2oz of salt to each 1 pint of cold water.  Simply mix the salt with the cold water.


I have two kilos of Gherkins and I now have them brining in three pints of water 5 oz salt in two separate bowls with a plate and a saucer on the top of each to keep the gherkins submerged. They are to be left overnight and I will carry on processing them tomorrow evening when I come home from work.

They will then be drained in plenty of cold water so that no residue of the salt remains.  Leave to drain  very well.  Pack into sterilised jars.  Prepare spiced vinegar of your choice. 

If the gherkins are small they can be left whole but if too large they can be finely sliced in even sized portions.  Ordinary cucumber can also be processed in this fashion.

I am going to use white spirit vinegar infused with a clove of garlic, a bunch of dill and some onion finely sliced with a little sugar to season the gherkins.  I heat treat everything in a saucepan by simmering and letting the ingredients infuse and then go cold.  I then intend to top up each jar to the top .  I always wedge some clean greasproof paper into the top of the jar to keep the contents submerged.  Seal and then store on the larder shelf for at least two months before opening.  - Preferably have a lock on the Pantry Door  with a large NO ADMITTANCE SIGN so that No one can help themselves in between! Drastic measures have to be taken in this household whenever I am in preserving mode and sometimes things have to be hidden!

[I will recount a story of when my step-children were at home.  Their mother never pickled or cooked to the extent I did and so therefore my preserving sessions were a bit of a mystery and of great intrigure to them.  On one of my first forays into bottling I spent all morning bottling some cherries and raspberries and left them to cool on the freezer.  I was quite proud of myself and of the fact that I had managed to put up something special for the winter months for all of us.   When I came down the following morning  - the jars had mysteriously come open.  Not one or two but three in total (there were six altogether).They had opened them intrigued as to what all the fuss was about and after all they had helped with pickijng the cherries and the raspberries. Needless to say it never happened again, but it was a steep learning curve for me and for them. Quite funny in retrospect but not at the actual time!]


Well I got the Pickled Gherkins done two large jars of them.  I might get some more at the end of the week  if I can and make another couple of large jars as OH fond of them, that way round he will have some before Christmas and some for Christmas.

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