ca 2 kg small hard gherkins
a few woody dill stalks with the flowers on cut into 15 cm lengths
handful of blackcurrant leaves
1 clove of garlic, sliced
1 l. water
2 tbsp salt
1 dl vinegar (5% concentration) 1 tbsp sugar
Traditional Estonian pickled gherkins are made in a large wooden barrel. Cucumbers
are placed between layers of blackcurrant leaves, dill stalks and slices of
horseradish. Chilled water, containing 4 - 6% salt is poured over the cucumbers,
and then a weight is placed on them. The barrel is then taken into a cool cellar
with even temperature, where bacteria will produce lactic acid, which will ferment
the cucumbers. In about 30 days, the cucumbers acquire a pleasant, distinctly
sour taste. Those who do not possess a cellar have devised new methods of pickling
cucumbers in modern apartment buildings.
Soak the cucumbers in cold water for 24 hours, wash with a brush and rinse.
Put the gherkins in a large jar, add dill stalks, currant leaves and sliced
garlic. Bring the water with salt and sugar to the boil, allow it to cool until
it is lukewarm, and then pour it over the gherkins. Cover the jar with a saucer
and leave to stand. In two - three days the liquid will turn cloudy, as the
fermenting process caused by lactic acid, and speeded up by vinegar, will start.
When the cucumbers have turned more sour (in 2-3 days), strain the salty liquid
into a saucepan and throw away the stalks, leaves and garlic. Bring the liquid
to the boil, and boil for 2-3 minutes to kill the bacteria. Wash the cucumbers
under running water, and then pour boiling water (this is a 'new' boiling water)
over them. Put them in jars which have previously been sterilized with boiling
water or in a hot oven. Pour the hot salty liquid (this is the 'old' salt water
which was boiled to kill the bacteria) over them and seal the jars immediately.
Pickled gherkins will keep in a dark cupboard at room temperature for up to
The short story of the Estonian Cuisine