summer is pickling time

Summer: Dog Days And Pickling Time

Barbara Klein recipes 8 Comments

Summer Is Pickling Time

Summer is in full swing: dog days make you feel mellow and lazy. Probably you are not dreaming about standing in a hot kitchen and pickling. But this is the season for it and towards the middle of July the first produce will be offered on the markets.

I love pickles and always watched my mother in summer when she was pickling cornichons (this is what we call gherkins in our parts of Switzerland).

She did not want any help, for hours she was toiling away, washing and brushing the dirt off the gherkins, jabbing small holes in them with a toothpick and preparing a heavily salted water concoction in which they rested over night.

The next day she boiled vinegar with spices, herbs and peppercorns and poured it over the gherkins. This process was repeated the next day. In the end the pickles were put in high and narrow dark green pickling jars and stored in a cool place in the basement.

Frankly, I did not like her cornichons: too salty and sour for my taste. I never told her so, I would not have dared to denigrate all the love and work that went into making them.

Some years ago I have started my own project of pickles, experimented with the brine, reduced the amount of salt, added more herbs and spices and above all discovered what miracles honey will work with it!

I always buy my gherkins on the farmer market in Lörrach and prepare them the same day. Gherkins are very delicate and turn into mush or mouldy within 24 hours. You can also find them in Turkish shops in Basel.


Pickling time

Farmer Market in Lörrach 

Late Bloomers Honey Pickles

You will need approximately 1 L of pickling liquid for 1 kg of gherkins. If any liquid is left you can keep it in the fridge for future use.

Gherkins are a cucumber variety, I prefer them to cucumbers, as they are crunchier.

2 kg gherkins

1l vinegar (I use white wine vinegar for its taste and colour)
5 dl water
5 dl honey
2 TS sea salt
1 TS peppercorns
1 TS mustard seeds
1 TS coriander seeds
1 TS fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
2 fresh chillies
fresh dill (add 2 – 3 whole stems to the liquid, keep the rest for the jars)

Fresh garlic
Small onions
add some flavour with star anis and cumin


pickling time in summer with honey
Some ingredients for your honey pickles


Wash gherkins and remove any dirt with a soft brush, sort according to size

Put all other ingredients in a large non-reactive pot and bring to a boil

Taste pickling liquid and adjust seasoning if necessary

Sterilize your jars and lids

Tightly pack gherkins in jars, add dill, more chillies, garlic and small onions

Fill to the very top with the pickling liquid, screw or clamp lids on and sterilize

Cut oddly shaped gherkins in rounds or sticks (perfect for sandwiches, raclette or boiled meat)
Make a BBQ sauce with finely cut honey pickles, spring onions and home made ketchup


pickling in summer: the result in jars

Late Bloomers Honey Pickles

 Check out more pickling recipes on my Pinterest Board or download Late Bloomers Honey Pickles in a printer friendly format.

This year I made 42 jars of honey pickles and each year I grossly underestimate the time needed, it really is a labour of love and passion. And lots of cleaning afterwards: sticky surfaces and a charcoaled cook top from the pickling liquid, I wonder how it manages to spread everywhere.

But it is worth every hour of it!


Comments 8

  1. Yum! Pickled gherkins are the best thing ever. I’ve never added honey. I do like them sour, but not too salty. I had a yucky experience with super sweet gherkins in the USA. Your blend of flavours sounds great.

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      LOL, Kittie, I can imagine how the super sweet gherkins must have tasted! My honey pickles have a tendency towards the spicy and triple spicy as I add more fresh chillies to the jars but this goes well with Raclette and juxtaposes the cheese just fine!

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      I wish that as well, we could swap our products, Lori! Remember our grandmothers how they pickled and preserved fruit and vegetable? They led healthier lives, spent less on food and did not waste it, I want that, too.
      Happy new week and month!

  2. I don’t like pickles with any sweetness, so this is not for me, but the pictures are gorgeous and make me wish I was in Basel right now…or anyplace in Switzerland. Engueta!

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      Thank you so much, Pamela, and Grüetzi. You know that we are celebrating Swiss National Day today? You are most welcome to the party and we will find pickles without sugar or honey!

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