Archive for February, 2020

It’s such a committment to grow your own gherkins and then pick every day to maximise the crop. Last year the wind at our new home on top of the hill wrecked the vines and hardly made it worth the effort. This year I decided to grow them in my little greenhouse, making a zig-zag trellis back and forth across with chicken wire and had bamboo stakes holding it up. I tied the vines up, planted tomatoes around the edges, then watered every day and watched them grow… and grow and grow. They loved the sheltered environment. It took the bees a while to find them so for a while I used a little paint brush and transferred pollen from male to female flowers to make the most of the early flowers. Eventually the bees and bumblebees found them and the main crop came on. They’ve nearly finished now, thank goodness, from one packet of twenty seeds I have about 60 jars of different sizes. That’s plenty, tomorrow I’m pulling the plants out so the tomatoes can ripen, they’ve been smothered in gherkins long enough! Recipe at the end.

Gherkins in greenhouse

Chicken wire and bamboo were strong enough to hold them up.

Gherkins pollinated

At the start it was disappointing when some didn’t pollinate but didn’t care by the end!

Gherkins vine

Were easy to miss so had to really hunt them down.

Gherkins picked

A couple of handfuls every day soon added up

Gherkins brine

Soaking in brine overnight

Gherkins pickled

Jar by jay they added up

Gherkins stored

Nearly finished doing this year’s crop.

Pickled Gherkins

This method only does a small amount at a time.

With a scratchy pad or rough cloth clean off the sharp little prickles and soak overnight in a plastic bucket in a brine of 3 tablespoons of plain salt to a litre of water. Make as much as you need to cover. Next morning tip them into the sink and wash brine off.

To pickle, have a mixture of 2 cups of white vinegar, 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar boiling on the stove. Drop enough gherkins for one jar into this for 2 minutes only. Have hot jar ready, put a few whole spices into the bottom of the jar (I use 2 coriander seeds, 2 whole cloves and a black peppercorn). Put gherkins into jar and cover to the top with the mixture they’ve just boiled in. Screw on hot lid.

Hint: if your gherkins have grown a bit too big, soak in brine then peel and slice before cooking for a minute.

Leave for a month before trying, get better with time!

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