The Q&A Archives: Gherkin Seeds

Question: My grandpa years ago grew what he called Gherkin? pickles. He canned these and made a very spicey juice for them.
They are green and kind of small and like an egg shape maybe.
The outside is a bumpy type texture and the insides have plenty of really small seeds.

I don't know if this is the real name of them (Gherkin )
but I would like to find out and where maybe I could purchase these seeds/ my grandfather has also been looking for them, but it has been about 15 years since he grew them.

Answer: Gherkin is actually a slightly different species (Cucumis anguria) than regular cucumbers (C. sativus). Gherkins are small and somewhat oval, with prickly skin. However, gherkin is also commonly used to describe small cukes used for pickling, as in "I'm going to make a batch of gherkins." So, I'm not really sure what specific plant your grandpa had.

I did a plant source database search and nothing came up under C. anguria. However, there were well over 100 varieties of C. sativus. Burpee offers a number of cukes especially for pickling, including Burpee Pickler, Pickalot, and Picklebush. You can look at descriptions and photos online.

Also, you might try heirloom seed sources and seed exchanges. The National Garden Association website has a seed exchange. Go to Another possibility is the Seed Savers Exchange in Iowa, 3076 North Winn Road Decorah, IA 52101. I'm not sure if they have a website yet, but they have been around for many years with the goal of saving heirloom seeds. Good luck!

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