Ingredient of the Week: Gherkins
Everything you need to know about pickles
Each week plant-based cook Bettina Campolucci Bordi, founder of Bettina’s Kitchen, gives us the lowdown on a particular seasonal fruit, vegetable or ingredient, offering cooking tips and a recipe. This week it’s gherkins.
Ingredient of the Week: Gherkins
Gherkins, also known as pickles or cucumbers, are a type of small, crunchy vegetable that are often used in salads, sandwiches, and as a condiment.
While they are commonly associated with the United States, pickles have been enjoyed around the world for centuries. The origin of the gherkin can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as Egypt, India and China. These cultures discovered that by soaking cucumbers in a mixture of vinegar and spices, they could preserve them for longer periods of time. The pickling process was eventually adopted by the Greeks and Romans, who used it to preserve other vegetables and fruits as well.
Gherkins became popular in the United States in the late 1800s, when they were commonly served alongside sandwiches and as a snack. Today, gherkins are available in a variety of sizes and flavours, from sweet bread and butter pickles to spicy dill pickles.
One of the reasons why gherkins are so popular is their versatility. They can be sliced and added to sandwiches and burgers, chopped up and added to potato salad, or eaten straight out of the jar as a snack. They are also a low-calorie, low-fat snack option that can help satisfy cravings without adding too many calories to your diet if that’s your jam.
In addition to their nutritional benefits, gherkins have been used for medicinal purposes as well. Some people believe that gherkins can help ease muscle cramps, soothe sunburns, and reduce inflammation. While more research is needed to confirm these benefits, there is no denying that gherkins are a healthy addition to any diet.
Gherkins are easy to make, typically by pickling cucumbers in a vinegar-based brine. The brine is a combination of vinegar, sugar, salt, and spices. To make gherkins, you will need to slice cucumbers, add them to the brine, and let the cucumbers pickle for a few days before eating. Once finished pickling, the cucumbers can be eaten as-is or diced and used in salads, sandwiches, and other recipes.
In conclusion, gherkins are a delicious and healthy snack that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. Whether you prefer them sliced on a sandwich or eaten straight out of the jar, gherkins are a classic food that has been enjoyed around the world for centuries. So the next time you’re looking for a tasty and healthy snack, grab a jar of gherkins and enjoy!
Recipe: How To Use Gherkins in a Sandwich
I love using them in sandwich filler along with dill that gives the filler some freshness and tartness to cut through the creaminess of the mayonnaise. If you know me by now, you know that sandwiches and toast are old trusted favourites of mine, so I’m always looking for new ways of pimping these up. This is a great way to incorporate a good amount of fibre and protein into your meal, and still have that comforting feeling of a delicious filling. The topping of a filler is sometimes as important as the filling itself, here I’ve fried off some capers to add that extra bite. I hope you enjoy it!
For the sandwich filler:
- 400ml tin of chickpeas, drained
- 20g cornichons, finely sliced
- 2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp dill, finely chopped
- 100g plant based mayonnaise
- Zest and juice of ½ lemon
- 2 slices sourdough bread, or gluten free bread
For the topping:
- 1 tsp capers
- Olive oil, for frying
- 1 radish, thinly sliced
- 2 lettuce leaves
- 1 tbsp quick pickled onions
- Mash the chickpeas with a potato masher, then add all the other sandwich filler ingredients. Mix well to combine.
- Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan, add the capers and fry for a few minutes until crispy.
- Toast the bread and spread the best sandwich filler on each slice. Top with the crispy capers, radish, lettuce and quick pickled onions.
Featured image: Getty Images
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