As written down in the post ‘Like reading a children’s book’, I am quite ambivalent about publishing recipes of the dishes I make. As our friend Liv suggested in the comments to that post on Instagram, the maker puts a solid stamp on the taste and one’s creation is always a reflection of one’s own style of marvelous deliciousness.
Don’t forget that and don’t ever let something I say or write get in the way of your own creativity; you yourself are the best guinea pig for each and every one of your experiments and you should always trust your own estimates and choices! I’m not a recipe developer and you should probably only use my writings as a starting point.
That being said it’s about time that I keep my promise and write down my ways of handling the gherkins when they start overflowing the tiny kitchen of Les Pierres. Although I love eating them raw when they are still fresh and small, there’s only so many one can consume that way.
Method for short preservation of gherkins
One of my methods of preserving them is to let them ferment for a couple of days, before sticking them in the fridge to slow down the process. This way they keep for at least a couple of weeks more and provide for many lovely side dishes, apéros or even in between snacks. Don’t put too much sugar in it, this will slow down the fermentation process or might even prevent it from starting.
For a 1 liter jar, you will need:
- 600 g fresh gherkins, cut in pieces when big or use as whole when smaller
- 400 ml of water (no tap water please, has to be non-chlorinated)
- 12 g of salt
- 6 g of sugar
- 10 sprigs of fennel or dill
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- Any additional herbs or spices you prefer, I generally use hot chili flakes too, coriander seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaves from our garden and some juniper berries.
- a splash of brewed water kefir or other fermentation starter (optional)
- Wash the gherkins, but do not scrub; you need the bacteria that are living on their skin to start the fermentation process.
- Put the peeled garlic cloves and chopped onions at the bottom of the jar.
- Put the sprigs of dill or fennel at the bottom or on the sides of the jar.
- Add the gherkins, tightening them as much as possible so that they will not move too much when filling up with the liquid.
- Add any additional herbs or spices you prefer
- Dissolve the sugar and the salt in the water. If you have a fermentation starter or brewed water kefir, you can add a little of it here to jump start the fermentation.
- Cover the crammed gherkins with the just made brine. Make sure all of the gherkins are covered with liquid to prevent oxygen contact, otherwise this will make them decay.
- Cover the jar with a piece of cloth and a rubber band, to keep dust and fruit flies out.
- Leave to ferment for two to three days, depending on the temperature (the hotter it is, the quicker it goes)
- You will notice some bubbles starting to form after a while. This is how you can check the fermentation has properly started.
- When the bubbling stops, you can stick the jar in the fridge to slow down the process.
- It will keep for at least three weeks, probably longer. My rule to go by is: when it doesn’t look or smells delicious, don’t eat it…
The (side)dish you have just created is probiotic and very healthy, if consumed in moderation. No, they don’t pay me to say this and under pressure I will admit I do oppose moderation as a principle…
Tomorrow I’ll add the description for the second way I like to preserve our gherkins for a longer period of time, by pickling them in homemade vinegar. If you haven’t started making your own vinegar, I can really recommend it. It’s so easy to do and will erase your memory of ever buying the stuff again. You’ll find a starting point (my way of brewing vinegar) on this site too.