Cornichons au Vinaigre

Pickled Gherkins

My mother used to prepare these every year. But it’s harder to find the right kind of small dark green gherkin-cucumbers these days. Country markets and WI stalls are often the best bet. It’s always worth asking at a WI stall – they may have someone growing just the thing you’re after and they can bring it for you next week. That was how I discovered extra supplies of fresh figs to supplement my own last year. In France cucumbers for pickling are on sale from the end of June to September.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg( lb) firm, dark green gherkin-cucumbers
  • 255 g(9 oz) coarse salt
  • 255 g(9 oz) small white- or yellow-skinned pickling onions (in France look for grelots)
  • 2 sprays of tarragon
  • 20 peppercorns
  • white pickling vinegar

Method

Wash and dry the gherkins as soon as possible. Turn into a bowl and cover with the salt. Leave for 24 hours for the salt to draw out the water.

Next day, drain them, rinse them in cold water and dry on a clean teacloth. Pack into a jar, adding the peeled onions, tarragon and peppercorns as you go. Pour in the vinegar, making sure that everything is covered. Seal tightly and store in a cool, dark place for at least 2 months before using.

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