Know your Gherkin - Introduction
- The gherkin, Cucumis sativus, is a fruit similar in form and nutritional value to a cucumber.
- Gherkins and cucumbers belong to the same species but are different cultivar groups.
- They are usually picked when 4 to 8 cm (1 to 3 in) in length and pickled in jars or cans with vinegar (often flavoured with herbs, particularly dill; hence, "dill pickle") or brine to resemble a pickled cucumber.
Know your Gherkin - Origins
- Gherkins are believed to have been the first ever pickle and were enjoyed 4500 years ago in Mesopotamia.
- Cleopatra was a fan of pickles, as she believed that they would enhance her beauty.
- Roman legionnaires and Napoleon's troops all enjoyed their pickles too, and during the Second World War 40% of all pickles produced in the US were earmarked for the Armed Forces.
Know your Gherkin - Cuisine
- Pickled gherkins are served to accompany other foods, often in sandwiches.
- They were associated with central European and European Jewish cuisine, but are now found more widely.
- Sometimes also called a 'cornichon', this is simply the French word for gherkin.