Gherkins-Surprising facts

Description
The Gherkin is essentially a different type of cucumber. It has almost the same nutrient content and looks to that of a cucumber. It is around 4-8 cm long. They are usually canned or pickled before being sold in the market. Often, they are flavored with vinegar.

Before being used, gherkins are put through a very careful selection process. The crooked and otherwise damaged fruits have to be segregated and put away. The stalks have to be removed. Also, some of the fruits fall victims to insect infestations. These need to be thrown away. The gherkins should also be carefully washed before being cooked.


After these initial procedures, these fruits also need to be dipped in vinegar or acetic acid, as per the requirements. They are packed in proper plastic bags and then can be shipped away. Gherkins are often used in their pickled form, especially in sandwiches.

Buying tips
Gherkin should not be allowed to grow for too long. They should be harvested when they are around 4cm long. If it is allowed to grow any larger, then it loses its sweet flavor and turns bitter with time.

When you go to the market to buy the gherkins, make sure that it is in the lighter shades of green, and not turning yellow or dark green. If you are buying pickled or canned gherkins, you should make sure that the can is completely sealed and airtight, that is it is impervious to heat, air and dust.

If you are buying the raw gherkins on the other hand, make sure that the skin is smooth with no wrinkles or bumps. There should not be any dark spots or stains on it, as these are signs of the fruit losing its freshness.

Culinary usage
Gherkins can be prepared in a variety of ways. They can be used as a whole, after being preserved in vinegar or acetic acid, which enhances the flavor. They can also be sliced longitudinally, and consumed after adding pepper and salt, along with other spices of the user’s choice to it. It makes a very tasty treat. Other culinary usages are:

  1. They can be chopped into small pieces, or cut into matchstick like structures. The latter is very commonly used in many Oriental cuisines.
  2. They are widely used to make almost all types of salads, ranging from vegetable salads to chicken salads. They also find their use in soups, particularly vegetable soups.
  3. Gherkin pickles are very commonly used. They are usually soaked in honey or some sugary syrup. This makes it an awesome dessert.
  4. They can also be fried deeply, which is very commonly done in China. It makes an excellent snack.

Storage
After the gherkins have been bought from the market, they need to be stored properly, as like most other vegetables they tend to lose their freshness very easily. They are usually stored by putting them inside glass bottles filled with vinegar or acetic acid. This is then refrigerated. Though it remains fresh for about a week or so, you should consume it as soon as possible, as it starts losing its freshness.

Medicinal values
Gherkins have a large number of medicinal values, just like the cucumber. Some of them are summarized below:

  1. It is rich in fiber. Fiber is very important for our body, as it helps to clean the digestive tract and also plays a prime part in the smooth functioning of the digestive system. Fiber is lacking in most of the food items in a normal American diet, and thus gherkins help to make up for this lack.
  2. Gherkins have a high percentage of water. It thus serves as a cool refreshment. It prevents your body from getting dehydrated, and supplies water to your body, which is vital for survival.
  3. It makes your skin glow. It also helps to alleviate any skin inflammations.
  4. Gherkins have a rich content of ascorbic acid, which is one of the richest natural sources of Vitamin C. It also contains caffeic acid, which reduces swellings on the skin and also other skin disorders.
  5. Gherkins have a high content of minerals, including Calcium, potassium, magnesium and silica. Potassium and Magnesium helps in the lowering of your blood pressure. Thus it is advised for high blood pressure patients. Calcium makes your bones and teeth stronger. Silica plays a vital role in the cure of muscle disorders. It also helps in the effective functioning of all types of connective tissues, including tendons, ligaments and muscles.
  6. The juice extracted from this fruit serves as a very cool and refreshing drink, and also is a rich reservoir of minerals and vitamins.
  7. It is rich in various vitamins, which helps in making your immune system stronger and allows you to fight against many types of diseases.

Where to buy cucumbers in US
Gherkins are produced in many of the states in USA. However, the chief gherkin producing state is Florida, which accounts for most of the production from this country. Gherkins are also produced in other states like New York, Michigan, Virginia and New Jersey, though production is much lower than in Florida. The production decreases in the summer months.

Nutritional and dietary information
Gherkins have a rich content of various types of nutrients, both minerals and vitamins. They are summarized:

  1. Many minerals, including Potassium, Calcium, Molybdenum, Manganese and Magnesium.
  2. Vitamins like Vitamin C, Vitamin B and Vitamin A.
  3. Folate, dietary fibers and tryptophan.

From all the facts above, you must be really intrigued. Indeed, it is surprising to know that gherkins has so many medicinal benefits and such a high nutritional value.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 100g
Calories from Fat 0.1%
Calories 14
Dietary Fiber 1.2%
Protein 0.9%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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