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Gherkins

As pickled gherkins are such a tradition here in Austria, I'd like to tell you a little about the history of their manufacture. Until the 1990s, their production was a typical sideline business in rural areas. Hand harvesting in the fields was usually carried out by family members without any technical equipment, frequently when the weather was muggy and hot, and the vegetables grew so fast you could almost watch them. The freshly harvested pickling cucumbers were then processed in cooperatives. It was hard work, through which earlier generations were able to afford a couch or a television, for example.

 

Today, the pickling cucumbers are cultivated in the Seewinkel region around Neusiedler See. Overnight temperatures here of below 20 degrees and the generally muggy, moist weather, provide optimal conditions for their growth.
And it will come as no surprise that I am the first on-site at harvest time in July and August.

Gherkins

Gherkins are gherkins and will always be gherkins. Not I but my customers have declared this, insisting on the original gherkin recipe from the 70s, and simply not caring for change. I use the common medium sized variety with maximum crunch, pasteurise them gently, and fill them into jars by hand. There are no machines involved here. The marinade is prepared strictly according to the original recipe, with dill, onion, mustard seeds, and pepper. It takes around three weeks for the flavours to fully exchange.
A note for customers who don't come from Austria: pickled gherkins are THE classic pickle in Austria, and are also known as "Essiggurkerl" – vinegar gherkins.

Piccolo Gherkins

The above description applies in full to the flavour of the piccolo gherkin, which is prepared according to the original recipe. What's so special about this sour delicacy, is that only the finest grade selection of gherkins under six centimetres in length make it into the jars. This makes it a select product, as the short growth periods only allow around 55 harvest days each year. So a little luck is also needed to arrive at this mild and finely spiced rarity.

Gherkins in Brine, unfiltered

I harvest a special variety of pickling cucumber with a spiky surface from north Burgenland for these gherkins in brine. What's special about their production is the lacto-fermentation, a traditional preservation method that used to be carried out in wooden fermentation tanks. The cucumbers are placed in a salty xxxxxx which is especially healthy, and therefore included in the end-product as a slightly milky marinade in the jar. The characteristic flavour of my Gherkins in Brine comes from adding a mixture of herbs and spices that has it all: onion, horseradish, garlic, and mustard seeds, with pepper and dill rounding off the composition.

Mustard Gherkins, sweet & sour

The mustard gherkin is a special variety in itself, growing to up to 30 centimetres long, and which is harvested much less frequently than standard pickling cucumbers. Once arrived at our production, the cucumbers are first peeled and the cores removed before the white flesh is sliced into bite-sized pieces. I have chosen a sweet and sour flavour. The mildly nutty mustard seeds with their strong aroma are met by the delicately sweet dill. These are then joined by the spicy heat of the pepper strips and the distinctive spice of tarragon.

Garlic Gherkins

These garlic gherkins have it all. First into the jar are the garlic cloves, with the little piccolo gherkins placed on top. The garlic originates either from the Marchfeld region or from Hungary, where traditional aromatic garlic is cultivated. For the herb and spice mixture I have chosen onion and dill, as they harmonise well with the garlic flavour absorbed by the gherkins. In combination with the sweet and sour marinade, the result is an intensive mixture of spicy and aromatic flavours. My garlic gherkins are ideal for snacks and spreads alike.

Chilli Gherkins

The piccolo gherkins in this combination unite the pleasant heat of the chilli pepper with the spice of the gherkins, refined with a tasteful vinegar marinade and a little onion. The mildly spicy note in the finish is a pleasant surprise when savouring. They are a great hot accompaniment to spreads or stews.

Peppered Gherkins

Pepper is the king of spices. As the Gurkenprinz, I was motivated to create a peppered gherkin variation of its own. My choice for this composition was once again the fine grade selection of piccolo gherkins. I have used yellowish-white round peppercorns, which are hot and have a different flavour to black pepper, and ground these together with the milder flavour of green peppercorns before mixing with a piquant vinegar marinade. The result is a kingly peppery taste sensation on the palate.