Know your Gherkin

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.