Thursday, October 27, 2005
Les cornichons sont des concombres qui n’ont pû profiter & parvenir à maturité. Onles confit sur la fin d’Aout & en Septembre de cette maniere; on les lave dans le l’eau fraîche,ou les essuye, on les pique avec un piquoir fin en plusieurs endroits; on les range dans un pot avec de bon vinaigre; assaisoné de sel & poivre concassé, & de quelque clous de girofle; qu’ils trempent aisément, & les tenir bien couverts. On confit aussi de gros concombres, mais tenders & avant que la graine y soit formée.
The gherkins are cucumbers which do not have to arrive at maturity to be useful. Pickle them at the end of August or September in this manner; one washes them in fresh water, or wipes them, one pricks them with a fine pricker in several places; one arranges them in a pot with good vinegar; seasoned salt & crushed pepper, & of some cloves; that they soak easily, & to hold them covered well. One pickles also large cucumbers, but [while they are still] tender & before the seed is formed there.
Page 448-9, Nouvelle instruction pour les confitures, les liqueurs et les fruits de Massialot
Wash and wipe your cucumbers, prick all over with a needle and layer as tightly as possible in a crock. Add salt, pepper and a couple of whole cloves to enough good vinegar to cover the cucumbers and bring to a boil in a non-reactive pan. Pour over cucumbers, cover and leave for two days. Drain vinegar and bring to a boil again and repour it over pickles in crock. Repeat at the end of two days; repeat one more time; then leave covered for two weeks [be certain vinegar mixture completely covers pickles at all time--weight with a piece of crockery, if necessary]. Cornichons will be crisp and sour--just right to serve with richly seasoned meat preparations.
I grew Parisian Pickling cucumbers, a rare, tiny variety, especially grown for cornichons. The weather here has been somewhat mild for so late in the fall. At the beginning of October, I pulled up my cucumber vines and picked through them to find the smallest cucumbers to preserve as cornichons to use with patés.