Saturday, August 20, 2016

Local Saturday - West Indian Gherkins

Today, I am going to be as local as I can be.  Welcome to my back yard, where I will show you gherkins grown (with a major amount of assistance from enslaved African-Americans) by United States Founding Father Thomas Jefferson.
April 2016 - Monticello, near Charlottesville, Virginia
Well, not exactly by Thomas Jefferson, but I did buy the seeds at his former home, Monticello.

I have a Nebraska blogger to blame for this.  Last year, she blogged about growing something called Mexican Sour Gherkins, and even included a recipe for refrigerator Mexican Sour Gherkin Pickles. 

So when I saw the gherkin seeds for sale at Monticello when spouse and I visited, I grabbed them.  The problem is, though, that what I bought aren't Mexican sour gherkins.
This is what I bought.  Or, three plants to be exact, planted in a tub as the sunniest part of our back yard (which is fairly shaded) is our patio. 
Here's another view.  These are West Indian gherkins. (Actually, they are from Africa).  Next time, you might say, read the package.  But no loss - these are gherkins, and they are incredibly prolific.  After a slow start, they took off in our hot weather.

I would highly recommend trellising them.

So far (knock on lots of wood) they've had no pests or diseases.
This shows you the scale.  The gherkin pictured is ready for harvest - you have to get them small.






A baby.

Ready for harvest.


West Indian gherkins come covered in little spikes.  The plants are also a bit prickly, and you have to be careful.  I don't recommend picking these without gloves on, but my spouse's hands are hardened.  I would use gloves.
Our first harvest
You rub the spikes off with a towel, cut open and use like cucumbers.  You have to pick them a little more than thumb sized.  Once bigger, they would not be good eating.

We have a jar with some now, as we are making refrigerator pickles.  Spouse tasted raw, and said they taste just like cucumbers. Since our cucumbers are more or less done for at our community garden, this is a welcome harvest.

You could call them baby cucumbers.  And they are doing quite well in the big tub.

I hope we can call them delicious.  We will know in a few days.

14 comments:

  1. I am not a fan of pickles, but i truly did enjoy learning this growing process. Anything Mother Nature gives us is good.

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    1. You are right. We just need to learn how to use the gifts of Nature.

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  2. I admire your green thumb....I have never been good at gardening.....:)

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    1. Thank my husband, also, for all his good help. I'm more of a flower whisperer.

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  3. Great pics! My father grows and pickles them with dill. The best I've ever had :-)

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    1. Oh, good to know that my husband and I are on the right track!

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  4. Gherkins are the best kind of cucumber, in my opinion, for pickling. They do make wonderful pickles, refrigerator or traditional style, but, you're right, you have to pick them small. Congratulations on your gardening success.

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    1. Thank you Dorothy. I'm happy to know we are on the right track with them. In my childhood, "gherkins" from the store. were horrible sickly sweet things with a lime-ish green color. I know some people love sweet pickles but I was never one of them.

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  5. I've never seen spiky cukes before. Mmm. . . pickles. Growing up I never liked pickes. Now I wonder what I was thinking. Yum!

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    1. I loved pickles from an early age. In my childhood, delis had barrels full of them and you bought them in bulk. They were so good.

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  6. Wow nice! I didnt knew about this variety until I read your post. It might taste well too..

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  7. I love pickles although our kind might be really too hot for you. We get the smooth gherkins here and I've seen these too but never eaten them.

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  8. Sorry you didn't get the variety of gherkin you wanted, but it looks like these will be good enough.

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