QUESTION: What type of cucumber is used for cornichons? I’d love to make some of these this season but regular cucumbers get too big. – Jessie V
ANSWER: Before we dive into the type of cucumbers used to make cornichons, let’s first discuss what cornichons are and what makes them different from other pickles.
Cornichon is a French term used to describe a small cucumber that’s crisp and has gone through the pickling process.
These pickles are typically flavored with different herbs and spices such as dill, pepper, and tarragon.
In most cases, cornichons are made with gherkin varieties of cucumbers. One of the most popular varieties is Parisian Gherkin.
These plants are high-yielding and naturally produce smaller fruit. This is ideal since cornichons are smaller pickles.
If you don’t have access to a gherkin variety of pickle, you may utilize any type of cucumber that’s known for producing crisp fruit. The most important step to creating cornichons, no matter the variety of cucumber used, is to pick the fruit while they’re young and fresh.
No matter the variety chosen, you’ll never let the cucumbers reach maturity. Instead, they should be harvested when the fruits are no larger than two inches.
Since cornichons are made from gherkin variety cucumbers, what separates them from traditional gherkin pickles? The difference between cornichons and gherkins is that traditional gherkin pickles are sweeter, while cornichons are dilled and resemble smaller dill pickles.
Also, gherkin pickles can take up to thirty days to reach the desired flavor since they are a sweeter pickle. Cornichon pickles are a sour variety of pickle and are ready to eat anywhere from one to fourteen days after the recipe is complete.
If you’d like to make cornichons at home, there are many recipes for this style of pickle around the Internet, but you must begin with cucumbers of the right size and texture.
Once you’ve harvested the small cucumbers, follow your recipe of choice to create delicious cornichons.
In summary, to create traditional cornichons it’s best to grow a gherkin variety of cucumber. However, you may also choose to make cornichons from extremely immature cucumbers of other varieties as well.
Either way, if the cucumber is small, crisp, pickled, and slightly sour, you’ve most likely created delicious cornichons fresh from your garden.