Let the gherkins be gathered on a dry day, before the frost has touched them; take off the blossoms, put them into a stone jar, and pour over them sufficient boiling brine to cover them well. The following day take them out, wipe them singly, lay them into a clean stone jar, with a dozen bay-leaves over them, and pour upon them the following pickle, when it is boiling fast: as much vinegar as will more than cover the gherkins by an inch or two, with an ounce and a quarter of salt, a quarter-ounce of black peppercorns, an ounce and a half of ginger sliced, or slightly bruised, and two small blades of mace to every quart; put a plate over the jar, and leave it for two days, then drain off the vinegar, and heat it afresh: when it boils, throw in the gherkins, and keep them just on the point of simmering for two or three minutes; pour the whole back into the jar, put the plate again upon it, and let it remain until the pickle is quite cold, when a skin, or two separate folds of thick brown paper, must be tied closely over it The gherkins thus pickled are very crisp, and excellent in flavour, and the colour is sufficiently good to satisfy the prudent housekeeper, to whom the brilliant and poisonous green produced by boiling the vinegar in a brass skillet (a process constantly recommended in books of cookery) is anything but attractive.
To satisfy ourselves of the effect produced by the action of the acid on the metal, we had a few gherkins thrown into some vinegar which was boiling in a brass pan, and nothing could be more beautiful than the colour which they almost immediately exhibited. We fear this dangerous method is too often resorted to in preparing pickles for sale.
* Small cucumbers. All cucumbers may be pickled in the same way.
Brine to pour on gherkins; - 6 ozs. salt to each quart water: 24 hours. Pickle: - to each quart vinegar, salt, 1 1/4 oz.; black peppercorns, 1/4 oz.; ginger, sliced or bruised, 1 1/2 oz.; mace, 2 small blades; bay-leaves; 24 to 100 gherkins, more when the flavour is liked: 2 days. Gherkins simmered in vinegar, 2 to 3 minutes.
The quantity of vinegar required to cover the gherkins will be shown by that of the brine: so much depends upon their size, that it is impossible to direct the measure exactly. A larger proportion of spice can be added at pleasure.