Fifty percent of the inhabitants of Mudville, love pickled Gherkins, myself and Little Mudlet, and so when she spotted a packet of Gherkin seeds at the garden centre, a few months ago, and realised we could produce our own pickles, Little Mudler asked if we could grow some.
You don’t get many seeds in a packet but we managed to germinate and grow 5 healthy little plants, and these have a pleasing number of tiny Gherkins growing on them ….. and yesterday, to Little Mudlets’ delight, we picked the first half dozen or so.
So, under careful supervision the cukes were washed, topped, tailed and then sliced before being laid out in a glass bowl and liberally covered with salt. We had debated the pros and cons of brine versus salting, and had concluded that, as we prefer crunchy Gherkins, according to everything I had read, salt was the way to go.
Into the fridge for 24 hours went our Gherkins.
Fast forward to this evening and Little Mudlet retrieved the bowl and was amazed by the amount of water the salt had drawn out. She carefully rinsed the excess salt off the slices and dried them on some sheets of kitchen towel.
Then she measured out the pickling ingredients into a large pan: 2 cups of water, 1.3 cups of white wine vinegar, a third of a cup of sugar, a bay leaf and a generous shake of mustard seeds, black onion seeds and black peppercorns. This was then brought to the boil and simmered for 5 minutes.
Whilst we were waiting, we sterilised two pickling jars and a pickling bottle, by filling them to the brim with boiling kettle water (not forgetting to pour boiling water into the lids as well), leaving them to stand for a few minutes.
Once the vinegar was ready, we emptied the water out of the jars and Little Mudlet carefully lined the sides of each jar with Gherkin slices, putting a second row, then a third and so on until she had used all the slices and filled the jars. I had poured the vinegar into a jug for her and she carefully filled the jars with the hot liquid before putting the excess into the sterilised pickling bottle, ready for the next harvest. The spices where shared equally between the three with the bay leaf going into the bottle of leftover liquor.
She’s proud as punch of her first pickles …… if a little frustrated that she will have to wait three months before she can try them!