Last year I grew my own gherkins, but this year I sacrificed the space for corn. Luckily, I was able to get a few kilos through a local market garden, which should keep this gherkin addict happy for a few months. I cut the large ones into rounds and the medium-sized ones into length-way quarters. If I had any small ones, I would preserve these whole. This is my mum's recipe, taken from an old DYC vinegar pamphlet. Made with malt vinegar, these gherkins are face-wrinkling-ly good, and put the insipid supermarket alternatives to shame!
1.5 kg gherkins, scrubbed to remove any prickles
1/2 cup salt
2 litres cold water
6 cups malt vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
3 cloves garlic
6cm piece root ginger
3 small chillis
1 tsp peppercorns (I forgot to add these!! Opps..)
1 tsp whole cloves
1 tsp allspice berries
Slice prepared gherkins into desired sizes.
Dissolve salt in water and soak cleaned gherkins in brine solution for 24 hours.
Drain and rinse well with cold water. Drain and rinse again. Pack drained gherkins into clean jars.
Simmer vinegar, sugar, garlic, chilli, ginger and spices tied in a muslin bundle for 15 minutes.
Discard muslin bundle and pour hot vinegar over gherkins to cover completely. Seal with non-metallic (or coated) lids. Store for six weeks at least, before using.
When I grew my own, I had a drip-feed supply, as they ripened on the vines. To manage this, I boiled up the vinegar solution, and placed it in a large crock. As my gherkins ripened, I scrubbed and soaked them in brine overnight, and then progressively added them to the crock of vinegar as they were ready. I left the crock for a few months after I added the last batch.
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