Gherkins from ‘The Drunken Botanist’


Amy Stewart, the author of The Drunken Botanist, mentioned Mexican gherkins during an interview on National Public Radio’s Morning edition. (Hear the interview by clicking here.) She recommended them as a great garnish for cocktails That’s all I needed to hear. Googled “Mexican gherkins,” found a seed supplier, and ordered them. Planted enough for six plants after thinning, but germination was poor, and I got only two plants.

Book CoverWell, those two plants which grew to be very beautiful, but aggressive, produced somewhere between 7 and 10 pounds of fruit over the summer. The last batch, about 5 pounds, came off the vines yesterday. They’re about the size of olives.

I brined them in jars today, and they should be ready to eat in about 72 hours. They’re are refrigerator pickles, so they will not keep through the winter, but they were a breeze to make. Eaten off the vine, some of them are a little tart, so it will be interesting to see how they taste after a few days in salt water.

The recipe for a quart of either Mexican gherkins or chunked cucumbers has

2 cups of hot water and

2 Tablespoons of Kosher salt

Mix them and set aside.

Wash cukes and chunk them for the jar or fill the jar with whole Mexican gherkins plus

1-1/2 teaspoons of pickling spices

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

3 or more smashed garlic cloves.

Fill to the tippity top with brine, cover and refrigerate.

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