Late Autumn is when the ‘kornişon’ or small gherkins appear in the markets. They actually appear twice a year but if you are interested in pickling them, you need to make the pickles with the Autumn crop.
I have been told by several villagers that the Spring crop will not stay crunchy in its pickling juice whereas the October / November (Autumn) crop will still be good a year later in their jars.
Some people in Turkey might wonder why you would even bother as they are so incredibly cheap to buy in the the shops, ready made. However, I always love to have my own homemade edition and actually it is a very quick process to pickle them and I don’t believe you can get tastier ones than this recipe provides.
When making these gherkins, try to look for nice dark green ones with as few blemishes as possible. They should feel quite hard without any soft spots and preferably the ends have not turned yellow.
Many stall owners will not let you pick through them but as they are so cheap you can consider buying extra and just tossing out any that don’t make the grade.
The size is up to you. I go for the smaller ones but the benefits of the larger ones is that they are easier to cut up for sandwiches or salads.
This recipe is for a delicious savoury pickle, popular in Turkey and many European countries and is not sweet in any way.
The first thing you are going to have to do when you get them home is wash them. I soak them for about half an hour and then give them a gentle scrub if needed. Mine clearly did need it! I then rinse them a few times and make sure they are pristine before continuing.
The next thing to do is trim any stems off them. If any ends look a bit bulbous, slice them off finely. It is not very pleasant to get a tough bit and it is better just to slice it off rather than leave it. I did leave some on and will definitely not do so again. (See my note under the second top photo regarding trimming the ends.)
The whole process can be done in under an hour and I found it quite enjoyable. Being able to start eating them within 2 days is definitely a bonus and they do stay crisp for months and months. In fact, I made a huge batch a few years ago and found I had some left after a year. They were still really crunchy and delicious.
Perhaps you can find them in your markets at home still before winter actually arrives.
- 3 litre container with lid
- 2.5 kg baby gherkins washed well and ends finely trimmed
- ½ tea glass 50 ml lemon salt or citric acid
- 1 cup salt without iodine
- Vinegar, pref white, approx 1 litre
- 1.5 bulbs garlic, cloves separated and peeled
- Cooled boiled or filtered water, approx 1 litre
- Place gherkins in container with garlic distributed around
- Add vinegar until the container is filled half way
- Add in the salt
- Add the lemon salt or citric acid
- Top up with the cool water
- Put lid on and gently turn around
- Place in handy spot and cover with a towel
- Turn daily for two days
- Taste them and tweak as you wish. At this point you can add more salt or a little sugar if desired
- Leave two more days if you have added anything, turning as before
- Store in a dark place once done