Preserving gherkins - tiny batches

MrPicklesJuly 28, 2014

Hi all, my first post!

I'm growing cornichons (y'know, the tiny French gherkins) which I intend to pickle in jars for myself, and as Christmas gifts.

I can find plenty of instructions and recipes on the web that will tell me how to pickle them in batches.

The problem is though that I only have a few plants, and while I have a good-looking crop they're growing to the size I want them in ones and twos - not really enough to bother processing.

So my question; is there a way I can store the gherkins until I have enough to make a batch? Do I, for example, just plonk them into a jar of vinegar for full processing later, or if I pick them can I store them somewhere like a cool dark place wrapped in paper until I have enough? Or could I fill a jar with my pickling juice, and then just add gherkins to it as I go?

What are my best options here?

Many thanks in advance.

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annew21 (zone 7b NC)(7b NC)

How long do you think you would need to store them before being about to pickle them?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 6:41PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Cukes lose quality very quickly - old rule of thumb is pick and pickle within 12 hours - which is why those of us who make pickles have to plant lots and lots of plants.

If you have to you can get by for 48 hours submerged in ice water. Beyond that the decline in quality makes it almost a waste of time and effort to pickle them.

If you have a local Farmer's Market you might have better luck optioning an early morning picking from a grower.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2014 at 8:05PM
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I'm actually going on holiday in August for three weeks, but will have someone coming to the house twice a week to check on things. I was hoping she could pick them when they get to the right size and put them in some kind of "holding tank" of vinegar or something until I return.

Oh well, it may be that I just have to eat them as cukes rather than pickle them as gherkins.

C'est la vie!

Thanks for your replies.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 4:05AM
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dgkritch(Z8 OR)

If you can get a jar full (even a half-pint) you can make small batches and refrigerate. They wouldn't be for long-term shelf storage, but if you've got the fridge space, you could at least make a few jars.

I make up a batch of brine and store it.
Pick the cukes (store in water up to 24 hours or so), fill your jar with seasonings and cukes. Heat a small amount of brine, pour over the cukes and place the lid on it. Refrigerate immediately. Any extra brine can be poured back into the large batch after cooling.

I've done dill pickles this way with good results. It works for me since I've got an extra fridge in the garage.


    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:11PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

You have the best idea yourself , I think; "Temporary holding tank" with water, vinegar and salt kept in the frig until you have enough of them.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 7:05PM
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