Classic French Cornichon Pickles

  • PrepTime: 5 Mins
  • CookTime: 15 Mins
  • TotalTime: 20 Mins

Ingredient

  1. 2 pounds fin de meaux cucumbers (2-inches long is best)
  2. 1/2 cup kosher salt (divided)
  3. 2 cups white distilled vinegar
  4. 2 cups water
  5. 1 tablespoon white onion (finely chopped)
  6. 1 clove garlic (peeled and halved)
  7. 1 teaspoon fresh dill (chopped)
  8. 1 1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  9. 2 cloves
  10. 2 bay leaves

Instruction

  1. Gather the ingredients.
  2. In a large bowl, toss the cucumbers in 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of salt.
  3. Arrange the cucumbers in a single layer on paper towels or clean kitchen towels to allow the salt to draw the moisture out of the cucumbers. Let sit for 90 minutes, then rinse the cucumbers thoroughly.
  4. Sterilize two 1-pint jars, along with their lids and rings, and keep them hot until ready to fill with the pickling mixture.
  5. In a medium, non-reactive saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the vinegar, water, and remaining 2 tablespoons of salt to a boil.
  6. Divide the onion, garlic, dill, peppercorns, cloves, and bay leaves between the two sterilized jars.
  7. Pack the cucumbers into the jars, leaving 1/2-inch of headspace.
  8. Fill the jars with the hot vinegar mixture, leaving 1/4-inch headspace from the top of the jars.
  9. Tap the jars to remove any air bubbles, cap the jars, and process them for 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner.
  10. Cool the jars and store them in a cool, dark place for at least 3 to 4 weeks before opening.

Note

  1. Grow your own gherkins: If you are having trouble finding the French varieties, but are determined to make authentic cornichons, you can buy the seeds and grow them yourself. Obviously, you will have to have quite a bit of patience as this method will take much longer than the 3- to 4-week canning time. If you have the right growing conditions, think about adding 10 weeks to the process if you grow your own.
  2. If you do not have a canner: Place the jars into a large pot of water, bring to the boil for 10 minutes, switch off the heat, and then carefully remove the jars from the water. 
  3. Cornichons used in sauces: Cornichons have their place in sauces such as tartar sauce, remoulade sauce, and charcutiere sauce, a French finishing sauce often used with meat dishes.
  4. Cornichons used in dishes: You will also find this little pickle featured in certain regional dishes like Southern-style deviled eggs, and making an unexpected but welcome appearance in a steak salad recipe. Cornichons also are a part of German cuisine and appear in two German specialties: German pasta salad is a typical party dish featuring bologna, cheese, and eggs with a creamy dressing, and in German beef rouladen, thin slices of beef are rolled around a mixture of cornichon, mustard, onion, and bacon.