Tag Archives: gherkin

Bread and Butter Pickles

When life gives you gherkins, you make bread-and-butter pickles. At least, that’s what I’ve been doing. I started with this recipe, but as usual, had to modify it based on what we happened to have in our spice rack. I made a few rookie moves, like using the mandoline bare-handed (and let me tell you, that’s a mistake you’ll only make once. Those things are vicious!) But the pickles are so worth it. Sweet and spicy, great with a sandwich, or just straight out of the jar in your pyjamas (not that I’d ever do that, no sir.)

Four gherkins picked fresh from the vine.
These fresh gherkins have an amazing flavor, almost sweet, even the weird-looking yellow ones.
Sliced gherkins in a bowl.
Finally got an excuse to use the zigzag blade on the mandoline!
Spices and vinegar in the saucepan.
Cinnamon, turmeric, clove, cardamom, mustard seed, white peppercorns, chili flakes.
Gherkins and onions simmering in the pickling syrup.
3 pint jars of bread-and-butter pickles.
Two 5-inch gherkins, with 1/2 cup of pickling syrup, will just about fill one pint jar.

Growing and shrinking

Some gherkins grow, others shrink…

Our new hand-built garden enclosure seems to be doing its job perfectly: we used wire mesh (or hardware cloth as the pros call it) with 1/2″ holes, too small for rats and mice to crawl through, but still plenty of room for the bees that have been happily pollinating our cucumber flowers.

Vegetable gardening and timelapse photography turn out to be an amazingly good match, because they both seem to make me pay attention to tiny details that would otherwise escape my notice. I never thought much about male and female flowers before, but on this gherkin plant it’s really obvious which ones are which: the males have pointy petals, and the females come equipped with a proto-fruit, ready for seed. Much less obvious is how they behave after pollination: some fruits grow, some shrivel up immediately, and others grow for a while, and then seem to give up halfway and start shrinking again. (I’ve read that this last case is what happens when there are some fertilized seeds, but not enough to fill the entire fruit.)

Here’s that big gherkin from the timelapse above. It was delicious.