Gherkin Vs Pickle – What’s The Difference?

What is the difference between a pickle and a gherkin?

Each word is used differently according to where you’re around the globe. The word pickle is used in North America, a pickle is an unpickled cucumber, while a Gherkin is a type of baby cucumber that is picked. Gherkins usually refer to a type of cucumber, however, pickles could be a cucumber, or it may not.

Pickles and gherkins are both intriguing terms that could mean various terms, depending on the location you’re within the planet and the level of scientifically you’re attempting to be. A lot of people aren’t sure of their meanings and how to apply each.

In essence, in the daily language spoken that is spoken in North America specifically, a pickle is a term used to describe the cucumber that has been picked, while a Gherkin is a particular kind of cucumber baby that’s been pickled.

In different regions around the globe “pickle” can refer to any vegetable, fruit, or other edible food product that has been picked while a gherkin is specifically a cucumber that has been picked.

There are other distinctions between a plant that is scientifically regarded as to be a gherkin versus one that is commonly known as a cucumber.

To the most extent, the two are both pickled cucumbers of a small size. In this post, we’ll discuss the areas where they differ and whether matter in your daily life.

What Is A Gherkin?

Answering this query is contingent on how accurate and scientifically reliable you would like to be, or if you’d rather go with conventional use.

The majority of people think of Gherkins as baby cucumbers or smaller picked cucumbers. The term gherkin is derived from the Dutch word “gurken” which means “small pickled cucumber.” It’s also the German word used to describe cucumbers.

Within North America, the majority of people refer to pickled cucumbers as “pickles”, and that is what makes gherkins a distinct kind of small round, bumpy cucumbers.

Within the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, however, all pickled cucumbers are commonly referred to as Gherkins. However, calling them pickles may seem odd to other people.

Amazingly, you can purchase picked Gherkins from Amazon.

Are Gherkins Cucumbers?

Botanically, there is one plant that is known as West Indian gherkin or burr Gerkin that is similar to cucumbers, even though they are not the same plant. The most regular cucumber can be described as Cucumis sativus and this kind of gherkin is Cucumis angular.

To make it even more complicated to make things even more confusing, there is an indigenous plant in Mexico and certain areas in Central America that are known as Mexican Sour Gherkin or Mexican Sour Cucumber.

It is also like in appearance to the cucumber, specifically in the way that the vine and its fruits develop, but it’s completely different completely, and that’s: Melothria sabra.

Gherkin Definition

In the dictionary, Gherkins can cause some confusion. Some, such as Collin’s dictionary define a”gherkin” in the form of “small green cucumbers preserved in vinegar.”

Other sites, such as as well as the Cambridge dictionary, be sure to note that gherkins could be a “variety of cucumber” or a “type of cucumber” that is used for pickling.

Merriam-Webster also contains two significant aspects:

  1. It’s a type of pickle that is made of this kind of fruit, called gherkin.
  2. It is a member of the family of gourds which includes gherkins.

Merriam-Webster continues to claim that gherkins are unripe fruits of cucumbers that putting them in the same category as other definitions in the dictionary.

Where Do Gherkins Originate From?

The gherkin tree previously is known as the burr gherkin also known as West Indian gherkin is thought to be indigenous to southern Africa However, it can be found in all climates all over the world.

The fruit that is produced by the gherkin plants can be consumed fresh but isn’t the kind of gherkin that would be sold in the market as gherkins that can be used for pickling.

Commercially-produced pickles or even seeds that are sold commercially as gherkins are far more likely to be the typical cucumber. They are designed to be picked when the cucumber is tiny and a little rough and unripe.

Certain cultivators have bred their standard cucumber plants to yield fruits that stop growing at a lower size, ideal for pickling.

The plant is a native of India although it is now grown all over the world with greenhouses that allow it to thrive all year round regardless of the weather.

What Is A Pickle?

As we’ve mentioned before As mentioned previously, in North America the term “pickle” is most commonly used to refer to pickled small cucumbers.

Pickle is often employed as an verb However it could be used to preserve any food item by using brine or vinegar, or even fermentation. The term “pickle” is typically an ingredient in cucumbers, however, pickled food items are those which have gone through a picking process.

It is commonplace for people to “pickle” or ferment all kinds of foods nowadays using kits such as this available on Amazon which make the process incredibly easy.

Are Pickles Cucumbers?

The most straightforward method to answer this question is to explain that cucumbers can be picked however not all cucumbers are pickles, and not all fruits or vegetables that are picked are cucumbers.

The case in North America, if you see someone referring to pickles, there’s likely that they are talking about cucumbers that have been picked however there are a lot of possibilities to think about.

We’ve written an entire article on this issue, cucumbers vs pickles.

What Are Pickles Made of?

Pickles, or even more than that, food items made of pickles, can be made from almost any edible food item which is preserved in brine, vinegar or left to naturally ferment by Lacto-fermentation.

In the world, pickled cucumbers, as well as sauerkraut or kimchi, are varieties of pickled cabbage that are the most popular pickled foods.

You can pickle virtually every vegetable, but. Beets, onions, carrots asparagus, hot peppers, and even green beans are extremely popular, too.

Some fruits can be picked or also animal parts. Pickled mangoes are a popular element in Indian dishes, pickled eggs are extremely well-known in Britain, and picking up meat is not uncommon within the USA.

Capers and olives could also be considered pickled, even though they possess distinctive brine flavors distinct to them.

Where Do Pickles Originate From?

Pickling is among the most ancient methods for food preservation that we’re aware of. It’s highly sought-after today, but it’s mostly because of the flavor and not for necessity.

The first reference to pickles, such as cucumbers picked with pickles, came from ancient Mesopotamia. The people of North India would bring their cucumbers for pickling within the Tigris valley.

There are even some passages in the Bible that mention cucumbers picked and Aristotle even spoke of the health benefits of picking cucumbers.

Interesting Facts & Questions

This article hopefully made clear the distinctions between gherkins and pickles for those of you who are interested in the realm of biology and language. We also invite you to take a look at these questions, if you have any further questions about these two foods.

Are Gherkins Good For You?

Cucumbers as well as other fruits and veggies are certainly healthy for your health, and there are many advantages to eating fermented food items that are properly fermented, like Gherkins or pickles.

The process of Lacto-fermentation creates a healthy probiotic consumption which feeds beneficial bacteria that live within your gut, which is very beneficial.

The problem is that the majority of gherkins and pickles cannot be created by this fermentation method.

Particularly if you purchase these, they’re far more likely to be sold as commercially made with lots of salt and often sugar and other preservatives as well as added flavorings.

If you can get naturally fermented gherkins that are naturally fermented, they’ll provide the best health benefits. They are then gherkins soaked with apple cider vinegar.

If you’re trying to control how much sodium your intake is, look at the nutritional information on the pickle jar to determine if it is in line with your health regimen.

Certain pickled food items like sauerkraut are also made with wine. If this is against your ethics, then you’ll want to look up the ingredients for this too.

Is Pickles Kosher?

Kosher is an item that is allowed to be consumed according to Jewish customs and practices. Kosher pickles, however, are not the only ones with a story.

As we all know is among the oldest ways of preserving food. However, there are many different methods of making pickles.

When Jewish migration to the USA first began in large numbers in the last quarter of 1800, Jewish immigrants brought with them a particular method of picking their cucumbers to create the perfect sour taste.

While they used Kosher salt, it’s the particular recipe with garlic, dill as well as other ingredients that have been carefully fermented together with cucumbers, which have been dubbed Kosher pickles. In the majority of cases, they’re also Kosher by Jewish customs.

How Do You Pronounce “Gherkin”?

Gherkin is a Dutch and Germanic word, which is why it’s not easy to pronounce if have never seen it in casual conversations before. Gherkin is pronounced with an “h” because the “h” is silent, which is the most crucial aspect to keep in mind.

In phonetics, gherkin is pronounced “gur,” similar to the growling sound, and “kn,” similar to the sound that ends with “chicken”. Its “ih” sound is not often spoken.

Why Do They Get Called Bread and Butter Pickles?

Although there isn’t a definitive answer to this issue The most likely solution could be Great Depression after WW2, cucumbers were affordable as well as easy to cultivate.

Thus, it was typical to eat cucumber sandwiches just with butter, bread and cucumbers sliced.

To help preserve cucumbers during wartime They were frequently picked. When vegetables were in short supply and the resultant sandwich was a combination of bread butter, pickles, and bread which is why the butter and bread pickles.

Somewhere along the way, the cucumbers were developed into a commercially-produced range of sweet and sour-skinned pickled cucumbers. They provide a delightful sandwich when served with plain butter and bread.

Another possibility is that the initial producers who trademarked the term, “bread and butter pickles” could trade the sweet and tart cucumbers for butter and bread other staples.

Who Invented Pickles?

Food pickling has been among the most ancient methods for conserving food and nutrition and is practiced since the dawn of Mesopotamian societies.

It wasn’t uncommon for travelers to bring food items that were pickled along to avoid the effects of nutritional deficiencies such as scurvy.

The H.J. Heinz Company, which we today are most commonly known as a ketchup maker, was among the first company to introduce pickled cucumbers to the market in the early 19th century.

Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, the founder and editor of YummyTasteFood! She's a seasoned food writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the hospitality industry as a former pastry chef, sous chef, and barista. When not writing about food, she explores new recipes or travels the world for culinary inspiration.

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