Monday, 9 August 2010

How to pickle gherkins

gherkins Aug 10

The summer glut of gherkins is in full flood so I have put together this recipe for a sweet pickling vinegar to pickle gherkins. I went for sweetness as 2 years ago when we last had a successful gherkin crop we pickled them in ordinary pickling vinegar and found the end result disappointingly sharp.

So here's the recipe for sweet pickling vinegar and how to pickle gherkins.

The first job to do is sprinkle salt on the gherkins and leave them to stand for 24 hours. Then rinse them.

Pack pickling jars or large jam jars with whole gherkins. Slice longways those too large to fit in or where whole gherkins won't fit the space left.

To make one litre of sweet pickling vinegar you will need:

One litre of white wine vinegar
400g sugar
1 tablespoon of mustard seeds
2 teaspoons of celery salt
2 teaspoons of turmeric
one teaspoon ground mace
2 cinammon sticks
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon of coriander seeds

Put the vinegar into a pan and begin to heat it. Add and stir in the sugar and then add all the spices and seeds. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes. (Actually, I say this makes one litre but in reality a bit of the liquid is lost to evaporation.)

Let the vinegar cool but when it is still hot pour onto the gherkins, filling each jar to the brim. Seal and leave for about 6 weeks before starting to use.

Pickles gherkins can keep for quite some time. The ones we pickled 2 years ago are still being used by us, even though we were disappointed at how sharp was the taste. The ones we have pickeld this year however are likely to be used up more quickly.

Below: me with 2 of the 8 jars made in the first batch of pickled gherkins.

gherkins pickled AUg 10

We'll soon be doing some pickling recipes with chopped gherkins and cucumbers. Watch this space.


croeso said...

How glad I am to have found you. My husband has an allotment and from time to time I am overwhelmed with Harvests of this and that. This time I was looking for how to pickle walleys!!! and there you were pickling what you call gherkins. Perhaps you are not a Londoner!!
Now I am off to buy white wine vinegar, I too would prefer them to be sweet so in will go the sugar oh dear! I wonder if dill would help?
Bring on the next bag of runner beans, I'm sure you will have a recipee somewhere which will make a change from my 5 veg. sweet piccalilli

Nan said...

Help! We've returned from holiday to find our greenhouse invaded by giant gherkins! They are about 7 or 8 inches long and 3 or 4 inches in diameter, beginning to yellow. Can we still use them? I thought I might possiblt slice them thinly longwise, what do you think?
Any helpful comments appreciated!

Anonymous said...


Yes, slice them lengthwise into either halves or quarters. For extra crunch sprinkle them with salt and leave for 24 hours. The salt draws out the water from the gherkin.

Anonymous said...

Have just tried my pickled gherkins and beetroot that I had pickled using your recipe. They are amazing and the beetroot is the best I have tasted. I have just eaten half the jar!!
I will be making a large batch of this sweet vinegar and pickling everything in it. Thank you xx

Charlene du Toit said...

I have used your recipe for pickled gherkins but something went wrong! I live in South Africa and our gherkins (the ones I used at least) are between 10 and 20 cm long and about 1.5 to 2 cm in diameter. I put them in salt for 24 hours and I was concerned about how floppy they were after that but I nevertheless continued, rinsed them well and bottled as per your instructions. This was done about 2 weeks ago and this afternoon I thought to check one of the bottles to see how they are doing. Bad news that they are still floppy and VERY salty! Do I wait another 4 weeks and then check again, or do I have a disaster on hand? Please help - what did I do wrong???


Andrew Drasar said...

Am starting this recipe tonight on some pickling cucumbers, wish me luck :)

Anonymous said...

This is probably a really silly question, but do you need to keep these in the fridge, or is that only after they have been opened ?

Claire said...

This recipe is fantastic! After the first year I started buying my wine vinegar in 5 litre containers on line and got through 2 of them!I made enough pickle to be easily self sufficient and have enough to give as gifts, all from 2 plants at my allotment. Everyone that has tried this pickle loves it and asks for more!