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Here I would love to share with you our travels and adventures as international consultants. About living in Italy, the Veneto area near Venice; in Indonesia, central Java. Why we love the southeast of the United States and moved back from Italy. Our love for gardening, the botanical way. Sharing with you our manifold treasures from exotic places and even offering several at Spectrenoir:http://ebay.to/2xI69uc, for others to enjoy. As well as high end silver items from Giovanni Raspini, Italy |  google.com/+MariettesBacktoBasics 
I also do classes and consulting... too much to list here! Check out my google.com/+MarietteVandenMunckhofVedder ABOUT page, where you see my other LINKS and email address; you just scroll down.Thanks!
Love to bring back some romance and quality to the daily life of others... 

Saturday, September 13, 2014

{Cucumbers & Gherkins Explained to You}

Guess all over the world there is a lot of misunderstanding about the so-called 'CUKES'.
So why not have 'Cucumbers & Gherkins Explained to You?!
Finding these French CORNICHONS at Trader Joe's made my heart sing!
Cornichons is French and means horn, corni. In English it is Gherkins or Augurkjes from the Dutch diminutive of augurk.
Back in The Netherlands, I have picked tons of tiny Gherkins in my Parents' greenhouse, in summer time.
You had to wear gloves and long sleeves as they have very prickly spines.
We also used to grow them in the fields and Dad had to wash them in a tub. 
Before they end up in the market they have been rubbed down so they lose their thorns.
The cucumber is an annual that originated in India, where its wild ancestor Cucumis hardwickii Royale may still be found in the subtropical valleys of the Himalayas. This ancient cucumber is bitter...
Gherkin. The word is of Persian origin, angārah, passing through Greek and Polish, and entering the English language from early modern Dutch, in which the diminutive gurkkijn or agurkkijn denotes a small cucumber. link: Gherkins.askdefinebeta.com
The so-called English cucumber is long, smooth and often seedless.
They mainly are grown inside a greenhouse where bees are excluded.

That is called: Parthenocarpy. In botany and horticulture, parthenocarpy literally meaning virgin fruit) is the natural or artificially production of fruit without fertilization of ovules.

The modern English cucumber (Cucumis sativus) is a refinement of the original gherkins and are therefore seen in botany as completely identical. Only the English Cucumber at the modern greenhouse operations has been bred in such a way that there is no male flower present.

Only female flowers provide beautiful glossy fruit without annoying spines or hairs. The cucumber grows out without any form of pollination or fertilization being necessary, this phenomenon is called parthenocarpy. The fruits contain just what thin, empty seeds that do not need to be removed.

Pollination by bees or bumblebees, that just visited a gherkin plantation, is even detrimental. Then there will be cucumbers that form seeds. These fruits are not so slim, even rather spherical, and will be filled with seeds. Gherkins, zucchini, pumpkins, ornamental gourds, squash and patty pan squash all belong to the family of the Cucurbits (Cucurbitaceae).

Cucumis sativus - Cucumber link to read more. 
Hope this did clarify a little bit about their differences...

Related links:
{Persian Cucumbers & Slicer} | previous post by me
{Cute Cumbers 100% Mom Approved} | previous post by me


  1. i like the little ones. the sweet gherkins! yum!

    1. Dearest Theresa,
      These French Cornichons are the only ones available here in the USA that taste like back home in The Netherlands... Those I picked literally tons of, commercially.

  2. Dearest Mariette,
    thank you for this delicious post. I love Cornichons as well and when we had gherkins in our garden I pickled a lot of them :O)
    Wishing you a wonderful weekend and thank you again for your so kind words about my Napkin-Banderols :O)
    Love and hugs

    1. Dearest Claudia,
      You are more than welcome and glad that you too love to eat this very healthy vegetable!
      Your Napkin Banderols were such a clever invention! Just in case anyone wonders what we are talking about, click here: Für den schön gedeckten Tisch wurden ...........
      Enjoy a lovely weekend after completion of so many fabulous orders!

  3. Hello dear Mariette
    For some reason they do taste quite different in France - delicious!
    Lots of wonderful information you have gathered Mariette - thank you!
    Wishing you a very happy weekend.
    Shane xox

    1. Dearest Shane,
      For sure you have noticed that first hand with your daughter and granddaughters living in France. We wonder how that taste kind of stayed confined in the French region and surrounding countries? They sure are delicious and so very crisp, never soft.
      Hugs to you and wishing you a lovely weekend.

  4. Interesting history of the augurkjes. I don't like the greek made ones, but can buy german pickles here in Sparta which taste like the dutch ones.

    1. Dearest Ada,
      Very funny that the Cornichons or Augurkjes taste did stay in France, Germany and The Netherlands...? Here the taste is a far cry from those cornichons and I'm sure glad we found those!
      Hugs and happy weekend to you.

  5. Liebe Mariette,

    so habe ich wieder Neues bei dir gelernt.
    Sonnige Grüße

    1. Liebe Elisabeth,
      Ja, so lernen wir alle so lange wir am leben sind!
      Auch sonnige Grüsse zurück und schönes Wochenende.

  6. Zo, je hebt er een hele studie van gemaakt, bedankt voor de uitleg.

    1. Beste Marianne,
      Ja niet zozeer een studie maar het is een feit dat ik de eerste 32 jaar van mijn leven omringd werd door augurken of slangkomkommers. Daardoor weet je er ook iets van. Het is een lievelingsgroente van ons beiden en gezond zijn ze!
      Liefs en fijn weekend nog.

  7. Hello Mariette, Those pickled cornichons look great--what I wouldn't give for a Trader Joe's over here!

    In general, pickles are not as popular in Taiwan (they like sweet!), and most of those readily found are on the sweet side. When I visit the U.S., sour/acid pickles, peppers, etc. are a real treat.

    1. Dearest Jim,
      Oh, I believe you about a Trader Joe's; we are blessed to have one at about 2 hours driving distance! A funny thing about the different tastes of pickles, yet it is something so unique to ones culture that it either makes you very happy or disappoints you...
      I've added still a bit of information towards the bottom of my post. Husband Pieter, a teacher by profession said, you still have not explained why no bees are allowed in greenhouses for English Cucumbers. So I did add that part.
      Always loved this crop and yes, the final days before coming to the USA I did help out Mom & Dad with picking gherkins in the greenhouse and with a type of French beans in the field...
      Enjoy your weekend and kind regards.

  8. What I grow is the cucumbers like your first post. Not gherkins.They have smooth skins and no seeds.
    It is interesting to read the history.
    Kay xxx

    1. Dearest Kay,
      We both love the smooth skin variety without seeds, you can even eat them as a snack on the go if you find the minis.
      They do have a very long history and it is interesting to see what breeding has done so far!
      Hugs and happy weekend to you,

  9. Lieve Mariette,

    Heb me eigenlijk nooit gerealiseerd dat de verschillen tussen augurken en komkommers bij veel mensen onbekend zijn. Voor mij is het de normaalste zaak van de wereld,er gaat geen week voorbij of ik eet ze en heb ze in potten op voorraad staan,van die lange,dunne,kromme slangkomkommer,mini/snack komkommers,gele komkommers tot de mooie rechte soort die in de doorsnee supermarkt te vinden is.De klassieke ingelegde zoet-zure of zure augurken vindt je hier,van hele grote(zure bommen)tot hele kleine van amper 2 centimeter, als ook die met kruiden,mosterd,honing,chilipeper,dille etc.ingemaakt,en niet te vergeten die samen gezellig in één pot met zilveruitjes.
    Er gaat voor mij persoonlijk niks boven de smaak van de onweerstaanbare Spreewaldgurken vers uit het vat en ik hoop ze binnenkort weer ergens op een van de streekmarkten tegen te komen in het noorden van Duitsland zodat ik 'n voorraadje in kan slaan☺☺
    Bij mijn Turkse super kom ik ze regelmatig tegen de kisten vol augurken,maar het is er nog nooit van gekomen om ze zelf in te maken.

    Fijn weekeind en lieve groet,

    1. Lieve Ger,
      Ja wij plattelanders uit Limburg en Brabant zijn er zó mee opgegroeid dat het eigenlijk vanzelfsprekend is. Maar niet voor iedereen.
      Het is iets heerlijks en ja, zilveruitjes, dat is ook zoiets wat je hier níet kunt krijgen. Als je ze denkt gevonden te hebben dan blijken het hele zachte en totaal anders smakende te zijn. Best teleurstellend omdat je die in een koude schotel of als garnering eigenlijk moet hebben...
      De Spreewaldgurken ken ik niet maar het zal best lekker zijn!
      Oh ja, ik heb heel wat augurkjes zelf ingemaakt, ook nog hier in Georgia van eigen teelt maar we hebben nu al jaren geen groentetuin meer.
      Ook een fijn weekend en liefs,

  10. Dearest Mariette, I have never seen the cute cumbers of your previous post in Greece. They indeed must be a very healthy mini snack for both children and adults.
    On the contrary, the cornichons or pickled gherkins, are very common and we use to serve them with a plate of antipasti for the aperitif.
    In Greece we call the cucumber 'agguri' and the cornichons 'aggurakia'.
    Many hugs and happy week-end!

    1. Dearest Marie-Anne,
      Those cute cumbers we also only find at the wholesale store so by far not everyone knows them.
      Of course for you being French you sure live with Cornichons and you use them exactly the same way we used them in The Netherlands. It is different here, the pickles they have are not as firm and crisp and taste very salty and so different.
      The way you mention here the Greek word 'aggurakia' it is obvious that it derived from the Persian word, angārah, passing through Greek and Polish...
      Interesting history of a favorite vegetable that exists for thousands of years...
      Hugs to you and happy weekend!

  11. I'm not sure if I have tried gherkins before. Looks familiar, so I might have, not knowing the name.
    I enjoyed reading a little history and about you back in Netherlands :-)
    Have a wonderful weekend xoxo

    1. Dearest Tamago,
      You probably did eat them somewhere. Don't know about the Japanese version of pickles, they too might come very close to the European version of Cornichons.
      Yes, I did spent my first 32 years between English Cucumbers and Gherkins and even my final days I helped my Parents harvesting their gherkins and French beans. Always loved the work and I also LOVE to eat them; a very healthy veggie.
      Hugs and happy weekend to you.

  12. Good Afternoon Mariette, I adore gherkins.... I love their crunchy texture and as Marie-Anne mentioned in the previous comment, pickled gherkins are also popular in Cyprus, thinly sliced and served as part of a meze.
    I would imagine, that it was very tricky picking the augurkjes with all those prickly spines.... I am so pleased to hear that you wore long gloves when doing this job.
    Thank you for such an interesting posts.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Best Wishes to you.

    1. Dearest Daphne,
      Oh sure, having lived in Cyprus, you do know how we used and ate them.
      No I did not wear long gloves but long sleeves, mostly an old shirt from my Dad that I wore. I loved to wear cotton gloves, not as hot as the rubber ones and a lot better for more feel.
      Happy weekend to you and sending you hugs.

  13. Dear Mariette,what an interesting post!!The pickled gherkins are so popular in Greece,
    and they are my favorite snak!Thank you for sharing!!Wishining you a lovely weekend!Hugs!!

    1. Dearest Dimi,
      We love them too and it is a very healthy snack.
      Hugs and happy weekend to you!

  14. Hello Dearest Mariette; I never knew this little sized Gherkin with prickly spines :-) Guess not so familiar in Japan. We use cucumbers for varieties of pickles as well but this cornichon from France may delicious for us too♡♡♡

    ps. I think I finally got my new pc fixed for my use p;) But I had Soba guests 2 days in a row. Haha, feel like busy early fall. Wishing you are having a wonderful weekend♪

    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my Dear friend in America, xoxo Miyako*

    1. Dearest Miyako,
      Well, those prickly spines are being removed before they get pickled, they are very easy to remove with a brush in water. They are also available in Japan. Just check here: ボフォール コルニッション 685g
      Oh my, if you have company for two days in a row you cannot concentrate on studying the instructions of a new PC. But glad that you finally managed to use it. Happy for you as it sure does take time to adjust to the changes.
      Wishing you also a very happy and relaxed weekend.
      Hugs to my Japanese friend, all the way from Georgia.

  15. Liebe Mariette,

    das ist sehr erfreulich, daß Du Gurken, die wie Heimische schmecken, gefunden hast! Das ist sicher gar nicht immer so leicht in anderen Ländern.

    Meine Großmutter baute früher auch Gurken in ihrem Garten an und legte sie selbst ein. Das war immer sehr lecker. Mir wäre das zu viel Aufwand heutzutage.

    Wenn ich es mir aussuchen kann, nehme ich am liebsten natürlich gewachsene Früchte und Gemüse ohne gravierenden Eingriff durch Menschenhand mittels Wachstumsregulatoren o.ä. Ich mag auch Kerne gern essen! Zumal einige auch sehr wertvolle Stoffe enthalten, die für uns gesund und wichtig sind. Kürbiskerne zum Beispiel ...

    Hab' auch mal in die Kommentare reingelesen ...salzige Gurken mag ich auch gar nicht, es schadet auch den Nieren, wenn man zu viel Salz zu sich nimmt.

    Hier bei uns gibt es auch die unterschiedlichsten Cornichons. Da hat jeder so seine Spezialität. Ich mag ebenfalls keine weichen Gurken! Aus dem Spreewald schmecken mir die Senfgurken allerdings auch. Von dort gibts aber auch andere saure Gurken, wohl auch Cornichons.

    Bezüglich der Waldgartenrose ... ich würde Dir ja gern eine schicken, wenn ich wieder Jungpflanzen habe, aber den weiten Weg würde so eine Pflanze wohl kaum überstehen.

    Liebe Grüße und auch Dir/Euch ein schönes Wochenende

    1. Liebe Sara,
      Gurken habe ich aber schon viele eingelegt und es ist nicht zuviel Aufwand...
      Bin eben froh das wir diese Cornichons hier finden können.
      Ja, natürlich angebaute Früchte und Gemüsse ist schön für die Hobby-Leute aber wenn man damit verdienen muss auf kommerzieller Art, da muss aber maximal produziert werden und muss das Produkt auch nicht zu sensitiv sein im Transport. Dafür gibt es eben Veredlung und Verbesserung. Ohne diese Arbeit hätte die ganze Welt schon Hungerprobleme gehabt wenn alles nur so wenig wie früher produzieren würde.
      Diejenigen die darüber schreiben haben selber noch nie etwas gezüchtet und können deshalb überhaupt nicht mitreden!
      Rosenpflanzen in der USA schicken ist aber strengstens verboten und wir können genügend hier kaufen. Das Problem ist hier unser Boden und auch die sehr schlechte Wasserholdingskapazität. Da oben drauf kommt noch das Problem von Allelopathy der Bäume... Die Wurzeln sind mitlerweilen überall hineingewachsen.
      Ganz liebe Grüsse und geniesse deine Rosen auch für mich!

    2. Das ist mir schon klar, liebe Mariette. Wir hatten früher selbst auch Obst und Gemüse angebaut, das ist sehr viel Arbeit und oft nicht von Erfolg gekrönt, jedenfalls wären die Erträge für kommerzielle Nutzung zu gering. Dafür braucht man viel Zeit, Leute vor allem und sehr viel Geduld und Sorgfalt.
      Ich selbst kaufe daher größtenteils auch von kleinen Firmen oder auf dem Wochenmarkt, beim Bio-Bauern, der das noch aus Überzeugung tut. Solche gibt's auch noch. Ein ganz bekannter aus der Szene ist Sepp Holzer, falls er Dir ein Begriff ist.


      Das Hungerproblem würde ich auch ganz anders angehen ... leider ist ein Großteil der Menschen auf Fleisch fixiert, sonst hätten auch viele andere Menschen noch genug. Ebenso wie Getreide inzwischen umkommt bzw. in Kraftstoff verwandelt wird. Und auch andere Bereiche, die ins Politische greifen, wirtschaftliche Mafiastrukturen, die für den Welthunger mit verantwortlich sind ...

      Einkochen oder Einlegen schaffe ich von der Zeit her nicht. Meine/unsere Prioritäten liegen anders. Auch wollen wir kein Gemüse mehr anbauen. Wir wollen nicht einmal auf Dauer noch einen Garten haben, da wir schließlich auch älter werden sondern lieber die freie Natur genießen, reisen und dergleichen. Den Anbau überlassen wir jetzt lieber anderen, jüngeren.

      Liebe Grüße

  16. Dearest Mariette,

    I enjoyed your post and the history of cucumbers and gherkins and thanks for sharing - I like them both.
    Last night I made Tzataki with cucumber and mint in yoghurt we had with some lamb
    Hope you are having a great weekend

    1. Dearest Carolyn,
      Tzatziki is something I really like too; almost adictive as one cannot stop eating it...
      Happy weekend to you as well. We had a birthday gathering at a friend's home but it was pouring down.

  17. E' da tanto tempo che vorrei farli ma dalle mie parti non si trovano. I cetriolini mi piacciono moltissimo e piacciono tanto anche a mio figlio. Nei panini con l'hamburger ci stanno divinamente! Un bacione. Paola

    1. Cara Paola,
      Sì, cetriolini sono molto gustoso con un snack, anche per una piatta con carne fredda. Sono contento che li posso comprare qui. Non ho farli mi stesso per tanti anni, perché prima devi farli crescere... raccoltare e preparare.
      Un bacione grande,


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