ingredient information
Gherkins
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The Gherkin (French cornichon) is a fruit similar in form and nutritional value to a cucumber. They are usually picked when 4 to 8 cm (1 to 3 in) in length and pickled in jars or cans with vinegar (often flavored with herbs, particularly dill; hence, ‘dill pickle’) or brine to resemble a pickled cucumber. The term can also be used to refer to the West Indian Burr Gherkin (Cucumis anguria), a related plant species, originally West African, that was introduced to the West Indies, probably by the Portuguese. This ‘true’ or Burr Gherkin or badunga cannot interbreed with the ‘true’ cucumber (Cucumis sativus), which is the condiment vegetable now generally known as the gherkin or dill pickle. The West Indian Burr Gherkin is edible and may be pickled but must be picked when no longer than 4 cm (1.5 in) long, since it becomes bitter and spiny if allowed to grow larger. Pickled gherkins are served to accompany other foods, often in sandwiches. They were associated with central European and European Jewish cuisine, but are now found more widely.