Cucumber, 'Parisian Pickling' is the ideal cucumber for use in pickling and for eating fresh in summer salads. The fruits can be harvested while small and young at around 50 days for pickles or left to mature to 67 days for slicing cucumbers.
'Parisian Pickling' are suitable for indoor and outdoor sowing and ideal for container growing. The prolific plants produce blunt-ended fruits that average 15cm (6in) in length, the skin is medium green in colour with dark green spots.
Small-spined, seedless, crunchy-sweet cucumbers. Harvest fully developed, no more than 5cm (2in) long and the width of a child’s finger. The fruits have firm flesh that hold well and are very uniform in shape which is important when trying to get all those little devils into those jars!
'Parisian Pickling' is a French heirloom cucumber first listed in the James J. H. Gregory seed catalogue in 1892. Originally called the Parisienne Cornichon de Bourbonne, and later the 'Improved Bourbonne', it was used extensively in France as the premier pickling cornichon.
The sweet fruits were picked young and used extensively for the manufacturing of gherkins (cornichons) in the late 1800's. No cheese or charcuterie plate is complete without them.
Sowing: Sow indoors January to April or outdoors from mid May
From January to April, they can be started off in 7.5cm (3in) pots, and grown indoors, Place two or three seeds, on their sides, about 2.5cm (1in) deep per pot, which is filled with moist compost. Sometimes cucumbers transplant badly, handle with care and disturb the roots as little as possible.
Cucumbers can be sown in situ from late May when all risk of frost has passed and the soil temperature is at least 16C (61F). Prepare holes 30cm (12in) wide and mix in plenty of well rotted compost or manure. Mound the planting hole up slightly as this will help with the plants' drainage. Sow two seeds per mound placing them on their sides, about 2.5cm (1in) deep.
Cucumbers are warm season crops, with no tolerance to frost. They must have temperatures of between 18°C to 27°C (64-81°F). In cold areas protect the young plant with mulches or cloches. A thick mulch will also help retain water.
After they have germinated thin out the seedlings to remove the weakest. Seeds germinate best if kept at 20*C (68*F). Ideal night temperature should be no lower than 16C (60F). This temperature should be maintained for four to six weeks after the seedlings have been planted out, so harden off and plant out when all frost has passed.
Nip out the growing point when the plants have about five leaves to encourage a stronger growth. Train up the supports tying in as required. When the plant has reached the top of the support, nip out the tip, two leaves beyond the last flower. Side shoots will then develop, producing more flower and fruit.
If allowed to trail on the ground nip out the main shoot when it has produced about 1.5m (54in) of growth and remove side shoots after one leaf.
The best forms are the all female ones. All female types may produce male flowers if they are grown under stressful conditions. These flowers should be removed. If grown in a greenhouse, keep it damped down to reduce any pests. Water regularly and feed with a high potash liquid feed every two weeks.
Keep an eye out for slugs and snails especially when the plants are young. If they become a problem, use a recommended proprietary brand of slug and snail bait. Try to avoid watering from above as this may lead to a fungal problem especially in warm weather. Pick off any badly affected leaves and spray with are commended proprietary brand of fungicide.
Flower and therefore fruit development is sometimes a little erratic at the start of the season. Generally the first flush of flowers will be mainly female. Female flowers have a small swelling (embryonic fruit) behind the petals. Most pollination is done by insects, but if fruit is failing to set, them the female flowers can pollinated by hand.
To pollinate by hand, take a male flower and remove all its petals, press it against the centre of the female flower. Pollen can also be transferred using a fine paint brush, taking pollen from the male stamen and brushing it lightly over the female stigma.
Cut cucumbers regularly from about twelve weeks after planting. The sides of the fruit should be parallel and about 10 to 15cm (4 to 6in) long. Cut them with a short stem and check the plant regularly for fruit. Regular cutting will produce more fruit.
Cucumbers generally don't store for very long unless pickled, so cut and use the fruit while fresh. The fruits are eaten raw, pickled or cooked.
The French call them cornichons and the English call them gherkins. The word gherkin comes from early modern Dutch, gurken or augurken for 'small pickled cucumber'. It is often incorrectly spelled 'gerkin', without the 'h'.
The term pickle is derived from the Dutch word pekel, meaning brine. In the UK and Ireland, pickle generally refers to ploughman's pickle made from various vegetables, such as Branston pickle, traditionally served with a ploughman's lunch. In the United States and Canada, the word pickle alone refers to a pickled cucumber (other types of pickles will be described as ‘pickled onion’, ‘pickled beets’, etc.).
Pickling and Preserving:
Preserving food is as old as mankind itself, ancient man freezing seal meat in the ice of the northern latitudes and drying fruit in the sunshine of the tropics. No matter how vigorously we rub it with Elephant garlic or how much Himalayan salt we use, the process remains the same. The only thing that has changed is that it now fits into the current renaissance of food thinking alongside sourdough bread, farmers markets and micro- breweries. All to be encouraged strongly, no matter how hipster or quasi-political it may seem.
A glut of heirloom tomatoes, or any vegetables mean you can have a larder full of wonderful chutneys, relishes and pickles for a fraction of the cost of the shop bought ones. Basic pickling is very simple and will allow you to experiment with a vast amount of creations.
As we all know, Google is your friend when it comes to recipes, and in no time at all, you will have rows of brightly coloured jars of yellow piccalilli, deep red tomato sauce, and large pots of pickled carrots. Earthenware pots of pungent kimchi will sit beside daikon pickles. And you will be king of the hipsters.
There is something immensely satisfying about preserving food, lining the jars up like trophies in your pantry. It’s a hunter-gatherer feeling, a secure feeling of a full larder. And of course, in a few weeks’ time you will get another immeasurable pleasure of turning a chicken sandwich into a sublime lunch with a jar of piccalilli or serving heaped ramekins of spicy plum chutney with a breast of roast duck. And all the time knowing that you are so out of date that you are back in fashion.
- Additional Information
Packet Size 1 gram Average Seed Count 35 Seeds Seed Form Natural Seeds per gram Averages at 35 to 37 seeds per gram. Common Name Gherkin, Cornichon or Pickling Cucumber
Heritage (French, late 1800's - 'Improved Bourbonne')
Other Language Names Du: Gurken or Augurken Family Cucurbitaceae Genus Cucumis Species sativus Cultivar Parisian Pickling Synonym Parisienne Cornichon de Bourbonne and Improved Bourbonne Hardiness Half Hardy Annual Spacing 45cm (18in) Position Full sun Soil Well-drained/light, Clay/heavy, Time to Sow Jan to June Time to Harvest 58 Days (June to October)