• Home Pickled Cornichons {Recipe}

    by  • July 21, 2011 • Preserving, Recipes & Meals, What's Growing • 16 Comments

    home pickled cornichons recipeMmmm…cornichons. Oh…gherkins. I like to say your names. I love how your vinegary taste and crunchy texture excite the palette, especially in between bites of rich charcuterie.

    The tiny cucumbers needed to make cornichons are difficult to find raw. To fulfill my homemade pickle desires, I did what any self-respecting homestead would do: grow my own.

    I started with Parisian Pickling Cucumber seeds from Seed Savers Exchange. Last year the plants grew a little and produced just enough cucumbers for a single jar of cornichons before rust withered the plant away.

    This year, I planted six seeds from the same packet our sunniest compost rich raised bed. The plants are ten feet long, trellising on anything that stands still, and covered with hundreds of yellow flowers.

    Each flower matures into a bitty cucumber overnight. Given another 24 hours, the cucumber is perfect for cornichon making. If left un-picked, the cucumber grows to 8-inch long relish-making size in another 24 hours. This rapid development seems magical, as is the camouflaging effect of all those green leaves hiding the cucumbers.

    I pick off the correctly sized cucumbers daily and store them in the fridge. When I have 8 to 10 collected, Lil and I wash and pickle them with this simple recipe. Pickling is great for young cooks because they can stuff the jars and count the spices. If all goes well, we will have a stash of jars in the larder before winter.

    I created this recipe based on several versions I found in cookbooks. It is tart but not too tart and rich with spices. Many recipes call for salting the cucumbers overnight and rinsing them to ensure a crisp pickle. Because these babies are so tiny, I skip this step and they are plenty crunchy for me. If you have access to fresh grape leaves, tossing in one per jar is reported to help the texture of pickles.



    Homemade Cornichons
    for each half pint jar

    2 tablespoons kosher salt
    1 cup white vinegar
    1/3 cup water
    5-8 whole 2-4 inch cucumbers, washed thoroughly with spines rubbed off
    1 clove garlic, peeled
    1 small bay leaf
    1/2 tablespoon pepper corns
    2 whole cloves
    1 bay leaf
    1 fresh grape leaf, washed, optional

    1. Heat salt, vinegar, and water in a pot over medium heat until boiling.
    2. Pack cucumbers into a sterilized jar with peeled garlic clove. Sprinkle spices over cucumbers.
    3. Pour boiling vinegar brine into the jar, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
    4. Wipe rim and place new lid on the jar. Finger tighten a ring on the jar and place in a hot water bath.
    5. Boil in hot water for 15 minutes. Remove from water bath and allow to cool to room temperature.


    Added to Simple Lives Thursday 53 and Punk Domestics.

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    I live to eat and eat to live, planning every meal to include as much local and seasonal abundance as possible. I often wear purple and never refuse a drink.


    16 Responses to Home Pickled Cornichons {Recipe}

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    3. July 22, 2011 at 7:49 am

      I saw those seeds! I am so happy that someone tried them out and had great success. Based on your experience, I know where to plant them next year!

      Since you mentioned grape leaves as a way to keep pickles crisper: I just found out that cherry leaves work even better. Weird, huh?

    4. Sue
      July 23, 2011 at 3:28 pm

      Making these today!

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    6. July 28, 2011 at 5:43 pm

      A slice of horseradish is also good for keeping them crisp, but you also get a little flavor with it. Horseradish is wicked easy to grow, though.

      • July 28, 2011 at 5:54 pm

        I had never heard about adding horseradish! I don’t grow it because I can’t see us ever using very much, but if I had more space it would be really fun to try.

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    8. Mike
      September 30, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Great recipe. I’ve tried adding a slice of chilli (no seeds) to my latest batch!

      You are right about the camouflage. No matter how hard you look there are always a couple that get away!

    9. LP
      April 1, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Cool technique, i will try this to preserve my cukes this year. I grow like a billion Parisian Pickling vines in this one area every year that gets rain from the gutter spilling onto it making them oh-so-happy. Parisians are my favorite pickling type of cucumber, ive tried many and they are the best flavor. fruity!

    10. Fredda
      May 1, 2015 at 7:40 pm

      What to do with horseradish? Grated horseradish and a little vinegar in home-made mayonnaise is utterly delish. Horseradish sauce is wonderful with meats and many veggies. Roasted root vegetables and a bit of horseradish sauce or just grated horseradish is also a taste treat.

    11. Susan
      July 14, 2015 at 10:09 am

      Does your garlic turn blue?!

      • April 12, 2016 at 12:46 pm

        The garlic turns blue because of iron in your water. It does not effect the flavor of the pickle. Sometimes I use bottled water to pickle because our well is very iron-y.

    12. Jocelyn
      July 31, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      I grew French cornichons from seed this year specifically for the purpose of pickling them. Last year, I used little Kirbys, they were nice too. I’ve tried a few different methods but I like yours the best so far becuase they can be stored in the pantry. I also add a few tiny boiling onions to jar. When they’re ready, I’ll try baby shallots. In addition, a sprig of tarragon is a nice addition. I always use a grape leaf or horseradish leaf in each jar. My horseradish isn’t ready for harvest, but I will try adding some later in the year. They’ve been really yummy on a charcuterie plate!

      • TheGhungFu
        August 10, 2015 at 12:27 pm

        I live in ramp country (ramps are wild onions/garlic family that grow in the Southern Appalachians), and nothing compares to cornichons made with ramps instead of garlic (or both). I also make a batch with 50/50 vinegar/water for those who don’t like them quite so tart. Adding one dried tabasco pepper is also a nice twist. This year I’m trying a variety called “Alibi” from John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds; started in the high tunnel late July for fall crop. Curious to see how that works out. The plants are beautiful so far and should start producing soon. I may also try a kosher pickle recipe on them. What fun!

    13. BILL
      July 24, 2016 at 4:09 pm

      Can I just process to the point of your recipe, and simply refrigerate for (?how long) and eat/use them ??

      (obviously new to cooking as a guy)

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