In Britain, Ireland, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand the term gherkin is used for what Canada and the United States would call a pickle or pickled cucumber.

This could be part of the reason why the gherkin sometimes gets confused with being a dill pickle. Although technically you could pickle them with dill and make a small dill pickle. Now with that being said, a pickle can in fact be made from many different food items.

But in the United States, Canada, and Australia, the term “pickle” is a word which almost always refers to a pickled cucumber.

Usually in North America, the term gherkin refers to a young cucumber. They typically measure between 1 – 3 inches (2.5 – 7.5 cm) long.

Gherkins are best when used at a tender age, due to the fact that older more mature ones have a tendency to become bitter. Gherkins are also high in potassium as well as vitamins A and K.

The West Indian or burr gherkin produces a smaller fruit than the garden cucumber (Cucumis sativus). Gherkins can be cooked, eaten raw or turned into pickles. Sugar is a common ingredient when pickling gherkins. If that’s the case, the product will be labeled as “Sweet Gherkins”.

Another type of pickle is the cornichon which is a tart French pickle made from small gherkins pickled in vinegar and tarragon. Traditionally, cornichons were served with pâtés and cold cuts.

Gherkins and pickling cucumbers are generally served as condiment vegetables. They often accompany main dishes. They are not eaten for nourishment but instead for their flavor. Commonly gherkins and pickles are eaten with burgers and sandwiches.

Gherkin is a silly word in my opinion, and it has managed to secure a spot on Urban Dictionary as well. I don’t know how hard that is to achieve but it’s something nonetheless.