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Pickles vs Gherkins - We're in a bit of a pickle

They're hidden under your burger bun and swim in a bath of vinegar. Yes! It's a pickle... or is it a gherkin?

Ever since I was little, I always wondered what the difference was between a pickle and a gherkin. I mean they both originated from a cucumber and are stored in a vinegar-filled jar. So what actually is the difference?

Firstly, the main difference is that pickle is an umbrella term. When you go into a supermarket you can't just buy pickles, you buy a type of pickle. For example, a gherkin is a type of pickle, the same as dill pickles.

Did you know? Pickle is also considered a verb, not just a noun!

Trust me! Take a look at food delicacies such as pickled eggs and pickled onions, what do they all have in common? That's right, they've all been pickled but what exactly does that entail? Pickling is used to preserve foods and enhance a sweet yet sour flavour. To pickle a food product it must be contained in a brine, typically vinegar. This makes it soft, chewy, wrinkly, and even crunchy, anything goes.

Another huge difference is the physical appearance. It may seem obvious but gherkins are way smaller than pickles. Pickles tend to be larger and fit into bigger jars. This is mainly because gherkins are constructed from younger cucumbers because they're tiny and not yet fully developed. In addition, gherkins have a bumpy surface whereas pickles are unnaturally smoother.

Finally, when tasting the pickled delight from the cucurbits family there is clearly a difference. Though pickles have a much harsher taste they tend to be softer than a gherkin. Oppositely, gherkins are sweeter and are noticeably more crunchy. If I had to pick I would choose gherkins over pickles any day.

Well, now that we understand the difference I hope we can relish this information together (pun intended!).

  • Written by Kara Palmer

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