Pickle vs. Gherkin: Know the Difference
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on November 22, 2023
A pickle is any vegetable or fruit preserved in vinegar or brine, while a gherkin specifically refers to a small variety of cucumber that is pickled.
Pickle is a general term for fruits or vegetables preserved in an acidic medium or fermentation. Gherkins are specifically small cucumbers, often pickled with dill and other spices, making them a specific type of pickle.
Pickles have a wide range of flavors depending on the ingredients and pickling process. Gherkins typically have a distinct, often tangy and slightly sweet flavor, influenced by the spices used in pickling.
The term "pickle" varies regionally, often referring to pickled cucumbers in North America. Gherkins are more specifically associated with European cuisine, particularly in areas like the United Kingdom and Eastern Europe.
Pickles can be made from various vegetables or fruits like cucumbers, peppers, or onions. Gherkins are made exclusively from small cucumber varieties, known for their crisp texture.
Pickles are used in diverse cuisines worldwide, often as a condiment, side dish, or flavor enhancer. Gherkins are popular in sandwiches, as appetizers, or in salads, noted for their small size and distinct flavor.
Preserved fruit or vegetable in vinegar/brine
A small, pickled cucumber variety
Various fruits and vegetables
Specific small cucumber types
Tangy, often slightly sweet with spices
Global, varies by region
Strongly associated with European cuisine
Condiments, side dishes, flavoring
Often used in sandwiches, salads, appetizers
Pickle and Gherkin Definitions
A pickle is a vegetable or fruit preserved in vinegar or brine.
She added a slice of dill pickle to her sandwich.
Gherkins are known for their crisp texture and tangy taste.
She enjoyed the crispness of the gherkin in her salad.
Pickles can be made using various preservation methods.
He preferred homemade pickles for their freshness.
They are often pickled with a mix of vinegar, dill, and spices.
The gherkin's flavor was enhanced by the dill and spices.
The pickling process involves fermenting in an acidic medium.
The pickles were left to ferment for two weeks.
A gherkin is a small, pickled cucumber, often with dill.
He topped his burger with a few slices of gherkin.
An edible product, such as a cucumber, that has been preserved and flavored in a solution of brine or vinegar.
Gherkins are typically smaller than regular pickled cucumbers.
The small gherkins were perfect for her appetizer tray.
A solution of brine or vinegar, often spiced, for preserving and flavoring food.
Gherkins are a popular ingredient in European cuisine.
Gherkin is a staple in many traditional European dishes.
A chemical solution, such as an acid, that is used as a bath to remove scale and oxides from the surface of metals before plating or finishing.
A small cucumber, especially one used for pickling.
(Informal) A disagreeable or troublesome situation; a plight.
A pickle made from such a fruit.
(Baseball) A rundown.
A vine (Cucumis anguria) native to Africa and widely cultivated especially in the West Indies, having prickly fruit often harvested when immature for pickling.
To preserve or flavor (food) in a solution of brine or vinegar.
The fruit of this plant.
To treat (metal) in a chemical bath.
A small cucumber, often pickled whole.
A cucumber preserved in a solution, usually a brine or a vinegar syrup.
A pickle goes well with a hamburger.
(slang) The penis.
Any vegetable preserved in vinegar and consumed as relish.
A kind of small, prickly cucumber, much used for pickles.
A sweet, vinegary pickled chutney popular in Britain.
See Sea gherkin.
The brine used for preserving food.
This tub is filled with the pickle that we will put the small cucumbers into.
Any of various small cucumbers pickled whole
(informal) A difficult situation; peril.
The climber found himself in a pickle when one of the rocks broke off.
Small prickly cucumber
(affectionate) A mildly mischievous loved one.
(baseball) A rundown.
Jones was caught in a pickle between second and third.
(uncountable) A children’s game with three participants that emulates a baseball rundown
The boys played pickle in the front yard for an hour.
(slang) A penis.
(slang) A pipe for smoking methamphetamine.
Load some shards in that pickle.
(metalworking) A bath of dilute sulphuric or nitric acid, etc., to remove burnt sand, scale, rust, etc., from the surface of castings, or other articles of metal, or to brighten them or improve their colour.
In an optical landing system, the hand-held controller connected to the lens, or apparatus on which the lights are mounted.
A kernel; a grain (of salt, sugar, etc.)
A small or indefinite quantity or amount (of something); a little, a bit, a few. Usually in partitive construction, frequently without "of"; a single grain or kernel of wheat, barley, oats, sand or dust.
To preserve food (or sometimes other things) in a salt, sugar or vinegar solution.
We pickled the remainder of the crop.
These cucumbers pickle very well.
(transitive) To remove high-temperature scale and oxidation from metal with heated (often sulphuric) industrial acid.
The crew will pickle the fittings in the morning.
(historical) To pour brine over a person after flogging them, as a method of punishment.
To eat sparingly.
A solution of salt and water, in which fish, meat, etc., may be preserved or corned; brine.
Any article of food which has been preserved in brine or in vinegar.
A bath of dilute sulphuric or nitric acid, etc., to remove burnt sand, scale rust, etc., from the surface of castings, or other articles of metal, or to brighten them or improve their color.
A troublesome child; as, a little pickle.
To preserve or season in pickle; to treat with some kind of pickle; as, to pickle herrings or cucumbers.
To give an antique appearance to; - said of copies or imitations of paintings by the old masters.
Vegetables (especially cucumbers) preserved in brine or vinegar
Informal terms for a difficult situation;
He got into a terrible fix
He made a muddle of his marriage
Preserve in a pickling liquid
Pickles often accompany meals as a flavorful condiment.
They served pickles alongside the barbecue.
Pickles come in many varieties, including sweet and sour.
Sweet pickles were her favorite addition to salads.
Repeatedly Asked Queries
What is a gherkin?
A gherkin is a small, pickled variety of cucumber.
Can any vegetable be pickled?
Yes, various vegetables can be pickled, not just cucumbers.
What is a pickle?
A pickle is a preserved fruit or vegetable in vinegar or brine.
Are gherkins always made with dill?
While dill is common, gherkins can also be pickled with other spices.
How long do pickles last?
Properly stored, pickles can last several months to a year.
Are gherkins used in cooking?
Gherkins are mainly used as a condiment or in salads and sandwiches.
Do gherkins have a different texture from other pickles?
Gherkins are often crispier due to their small size and specific cucumber type.
How are gherkins different in taste from regular pickles?
Gherkins often have a distinct tangy and sometimes sweet flavor.
Can pickling preserve food for long-term storage?
Yes, pickling is an effective method for preserving food.
Are pickles considered a healthy snack?
Pickles can be healthy in moderation but are high in sodium.
What is the most common pickle variety?
In North America, the most common variety is the pickled cucumber.
Is there a difference in the nutritional value of pickles and gherkins?
The nutritional value is similar, but it can vary based on the pickling ingredients.
Can gherkins be eaten raw?
Gherkins are typically eaten pickled rather than raw.
Are gherkins the same as mini cucumbers?
No, gherkins are a specific small cucumber variety, not just any mini cucumber.
Is pickling a form of fermentation?
Yes, pickling can involve fermentation, especially in brine pickles.
What are the health benefits of pickles?
Pickles can provide probiotics and vitamins, but are often high in sodium.
Are sweet gherkins a thing?
Yes, sweet gherkins, pickled with sugar and vinegar, are also popular.
Can pickles be spicy?
Yes, spices can be added to create spicy pickles.
Are pickles popular worldwide?
Yes, pickles are a popular food item in many cultures around the world.
Do pickles and gherkins have the same shelf life?
Their shelf life is similar, depending on the pickling method and storage conditions.
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Written byShumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.