Distinguishing Between Pickle & Gherkin

Pickle vs Gherkin

Most people are familiar with pickles, which are eaten with food to make it more interesting and flavorful. Pickling is an art of preserving food by creating a solution of water and salt and allowing the food to ferment in an acidic solution. This process has been used for centuries across various cultures, with slight differences in the methods and food items being preserved. The term “gherkin” often causes confusion, as these are pickled cucumbers primarily consumed in Europe. This article aims to clarify the differences between gherkins and pickles.

Pickles are a general term for food items that have been preserved in a brine to allow fermentation after adding acid or vinegar. In the US, Canada, and Australia, the word “pickle” is often used to refer to pickled cucumbers. In Southeast Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and other Asian countries such as China and Japan, there is a long tradition of making relishes that are eaten alongside the main course to make the food tastier. These pickles are made in a base of oil and can preserve food items such as gooseberry, unripe mango, ginger, garlic, onion, carrot, chilies, tamarind, cauliflower, and bitter gourd for months inside glass jars. The oily base in which these pickles are prepared contains many other ingredients, such as salt and spices.

However, in North America and Australia, the term “pickle” is typically reserved for pickled cucumber. There are different types of pickles, such as gherkin, cornichon (French pickled cucumber), and others.

Gherkin is a term for pickled cucumber, particularly in Europe and the UK. They are also called dill pickle because small cucumbers (1-3 inches in size) are preserved in a brine mixed with herbs such as dill. The size of the cucumber is important, as gherkins only contain small cucumbers; otherwise, one can find cucumbers as long as 20 inches that are used in salads. In fact, the small variety of cucumbers is sometimes referred to as gherkin in some regions. One variety that is mostly used for making pickles is called Kirby. Gherkins are often eaten with sandwiches and are a small variety of cucumber picked early to be turned into a pickle.

Key Takeaways

  • While a pickle can be made from various food items, in the US, Canada, and Australia, it is a term used to refer to pickled cucumbers.
  • Gherkin is a term used for pickled cucumber in the UK and the rest of Europe.
  • Gherkin is made with very small cucumbers (1-3 inches in size) and is smaller and crunchier than a pickle.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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