Pickle vs Gherkin
Most of us are aware of pickles that we eat along with food to make the food a bit more interesting and tasty. It is actually an art of preserving food by making a solution of water and salt and allowing fermentation of food items in acidic solution. Pickling has been going on for centuries across all cultures with slight variations in the procedure and food items that are so preserved. There is another term gherkin that confuses many as these are pickled cucumbers that are mostly eaten in Europe. This article attempts to make clear the differences between gherkin and pickle for all readers.
Pickle is a generic word that is used for food items that have been preserved in a brine, to allow for its fermentation after adding acid or vinegar. Pickle also happens to be the word to refer to pickled cucumbers in US, Canada, and Australia. In southeast Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and even other Asian countries such as China and Japan, there has been a long tradition of making relishes that are eaten alongside main course, to make the food tastier. These pickles are, however, made in a base of oil and can preserve the food items such as amla (gooseberry), unripe mango, ginger, garlic, onion, carrot, chilies, tamarind, cauliflower, 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, inside North America and Australia, pickle is usually reserved for pickled cucumber. There are different types of pickles such as gherkin, cornichon (French pickled cucumber), and some more.
Gherkin is pickled cucumber and so called in all of Europe, especially UK. They are also called dill pickle because small cucumbers (1-3 inches in size) are preserved in brine that is mixed with herbs such as dill. The size of the cucumber is important as Gherkin contains only small cucumbers as otherwise one can find as long as 20 inch cucumbers that are used as salad. In fact, the small variety of cucumbers is itself referred to as Gherkin in some areas. One variety that is mostly used for making pickles is called Kirby. Gherkin is eaten with sandwiches. It is a small variety of cucumber that is picked early to be turned into a pickle.
What is the difference between Pickle and Gherkin?
• While a pickle can be made from a large variety of food items, in US, Canada, and Australia, it is a word used to refer to pickled cucumbers.
• Gherkin is a term that is used for pickled cucumber in UK and the rest of Europe.
• Thus, what is pickle to North Americans is somewhat similar to what is Gherkin to people in UK.
• However, Gherkin is made with very small cucumbers (1-3 inches in size).
• Both Gherkin and pickle are eaten with sandwiches, to make it tastier.
• Gherkin is smaller and crunchier than pickle.
• Gherkin is a type of pickle and there are many more varieties of pickles such as Cornichon.
• There are some who treat Gherkin as a baby pickle.