Cornichons vs Pickles – Which One Holds the True Flavor?

In this blog post, we’ll dive into the world of cornichons vs pickles, exploring their origins, taste differences, and the ultimate question of which one reigns supreme. So grab your favorite pickle jar and get ready for a mouthwatering showdown!

What Is The Difference Between Cornichons and Pickles?

  • Origin and Cultural Significance: Cornichons are small, tangy pickles from France made with vinegar and herbs. They’re used as garnishes in French cuisine. Pickles, on the other hand, are cucumbers soaked in a brine of water, vinegar, and salt. They come in various flavors and sizes and are commonly added to sandwiches. Cornichons are culturally iconic in France, appearing on café menus, while pickles hold cultural significance worldwide. Pickling was historically used for preservation before refrigeration.
  • Harvesting Time: Cornichons are young gherkin cucumbers from France, harvested when small as a baby’s fingers. In contrast, pickles can include various pickled vegetables like gherkins. Cornichons are picked early for crispness and tangy taste, typically around 2 inches. Gherkins for pickles can be harvested at different stages of maturity. Recipes suggest picking gherkins when little finger-sized, while larger ones can still be used as slicers.
  • Pickling Process: Pickles are preserved foods soaked in a salty and acidic solution; an ancient method before refrigeration. Various produce can be pickled, creating different variations. Cornichons, in contrast, are small, sour gherkins from France. They’re salted overnight, canned with vinegar, water, salt, and herbs like tarragon, and ferment for at least three weeks. They’re used in French cuisine to elevate dishes like pâté, steak tartare, and raclette.
  • Preserving Process: Cornichons are cured in salt overnight to draw out some of the liquid, then immersed in vinegar with herbs and aromatics, such as tarragon, cloves, and bay leaves. On the other hand, pickles are fermented in a brine solution of vinegar, water, salt, and various seasonings.
  • Size: One of the significant differences between cornichons and pickles is their size. Cornichons tend to be smaller in size, measuring approximately 1-2 inches. Pickles, on the other hand, can range from small to large sizes, measuring around 3-4 inches.
  • Taste And Texture: Cornichons are exclusively sour, while pickles can have various flavors such as dill, garlic, or sweetness. The taste of cornichons is tart but not super sour. They have a mild tang and a satisfying crunch with a crisp texture. Pickles can have a range of tastes, from tart to sweet, but they are generally briny and less salty than dill pickles.

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Similarities Between Cornichons And Pickles

Similarities Between Cornichons And Pickles

Cornichons and pickles may have some differences, but they also share some similarities. Both are made using cucumbers, vinegar, and salt. They are both preserved in brine, which gives them their tangy flavor. While cornichons are commonly used in French cuisine for garnish or as a side dish, pickles are popular in Southern American cuisine and are often enjoyed with BBQ meats or in savory sandwiches. Despite their distinct flavors, both cornichons and pickles bring a crunch and acidity that can complement a variety of dishes.

What Are Cornichons?

What Are Cornichons

Cornichons, also known as gherkins in English, are tiny pickles that are typically used as a garnish. They are made from a specific type of cucumber called gherkin cucumbers, which are small, bright green, and bumpy. Cornichons are harvested when they are young, between one and two inches in length. The pickling process begins by salting the gherkins overnight to draw out some of their liquid, and then soaking them in vinegar overnight. These adorable little garnishes have a mild tang and a satisfying crunch.

They taste similar to dill pickles, but with perhaps a slightly less tart flavor. Cornichons are commonly served with charcuterie items such as pâtés, terrines, and cured sausages. They are called cornichons in French and are known as such in America as well.

What Are Pickles?

What Are Pickles

Pickles are a popular food that has been preserved in brine or vinegar. They come in a variety of flavors and can be made from different vegetables. While cucumbers are commonly used, pickles can also be made from other vegetables such as peppers, carrots, or even fruits.

The pickling process involves submerging the vegetables in a salt-water brine, which creates lactic acid and prevents the growth of bacteria. Pickles are a versatile condiment that can be enjoyed on burgers, sandwiches or as a tasty addition to charcuterie boards.

Cornichons Vs Pickles – FAQs

Which One Is More Versatile In Cooking?

Cornichons are generally more versatile than pickles, as they can be used in a variety of dishes such as salads, sauces, and even cocktails. Pickles are typically used in sandwiches or burgers.

Are There Any Nutritional Differences Between Cornichons And Pickles?

While there may be slight variations, both cornichons and pickles are low in calories and are a good source of fiber. The specific nutritional content may vary depending on the brand and recipe.

Can Cornichons And Pickles Be Used Interchangeably In Recipes?

While cornichons and pickles can both provide a tangy flavor, their size and texture differences may affect the overall outcome of a recipe. It is best to use them according to the specific recipe’s instructions.

How Does The Dutch Word “Gurken” Relate To The Concept Of Pickled Cucumbers?

The Dutch word “Gurken” is closely related to the concept of pickled cucumbers. The word “Gurken” means small pickled cucumber in Dutch. It is believed that the name gherkin originated from this word. In the U.S., large cucumbers and small gherkins can be called pickles once they are pickled. This is because pickling is the most common way that both varieties of cucumbers are consumed.

In other countries like the U.K., India, and Australia, all pickles, regardless of size, are called gherkins. This interchangeability of terms has caused some confusion, but in the end, they are all delicious, whether pickles or gherkins.


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