Gherkin cucumbers are generally small, averaging 10 to 15 centimeters in length, and have a cylindrical, oblong, to ovoid shape with rounded ends. The skin is firm, textured, and dark to light green, sometimes covered in many bumps. Underneath the surface, the flesh is crisp, pale green, aqueous, and contains a few small, edible seeds. Gherkin cucumbers are known for their crunchy, juicy consistency and have a mild, green, and vegetal flavor. Gherkin cucumbers are botanically a part of the Cucurbitaceae family and are small fruits that grow on herbaceous, sprawling vines. There are many varieties of cucumbers that are generally labeled as Gherkins in markets, especially in Europe, and the fruits are favored for their size, crunchy consistency, and versatile nature. While Gherkin cucumbers are found fresh in limited supply, they are more famously known around the world in their pickled state. Gherkin cucumbers contain a high water content, and when soaked in a brine, the solution replaces the water in the flesh creating a flavorful, tangy pickle that can be incorporated as a salty and crunchy ingredient in both sweet and savory culinary applications.
Gherkin cucumbers are best suited for both raw and cooked applications such as saut?ing and stir-frying. The fruits can be consumed fresh and served with dips on appetizer plates, lightly saut?ed with aromatics as a crisp side dish, tossed into green salads, or stir-fried with other vegetables. They can also be soaked in a sugar-based syrup and served as a sweet snack or dessert. In addition to using the fruits fresh or cooked, Gherkin cucumbers are more popularly pickled in a brine of various vinegar, herbs, and spices. Pickled Gherkins can be eaten as a snack, chopped and stirred into egg salad, minced into a relish, or layered into burgers and sandwiches. They can also be incorporated into soups, stews, and goulash. Gherkin cucumbers pair well with herbs such as dill, tarragon, and rosemary, garlic, onions, meats such as poultry, beef, bacon, pancetta, and lamb, seafood, potatoes, and tomatoes. Fresh Gherkin cucumbers will keep 1-2 weeks when stored in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.