A tub of ogórki małosolne (freshly pickled gherkins) came home with hubby last weekend. I used to think pickled cucumbers are just pickled cucumbers. The Eskimos are said to have tons of words for the fine nuances of snow (that’s now wiki-ed as an urban legend). In Poland, where pickled cucumbers are as everywhere as snow is in Greenland / Siberia / Canada / Alaska in winter, there are two common types of pickled cucumbers: ogórki małosolne and ogórki kiszone. Think of the former as New Pickled Cucumbers. The Germans have New Wine, the term for the freshly fermented grape juices that are not wine yet, but one is too impatient to wait any longer before knocking back some. New Wine is on the tap during the harvest period. Lock away the New Wine for longer (and after some processing), it becomes Wine Wine. Similarly, by neglecting ogórki małosolne, they will sour into ogórki kiszone. These New Pickles are a seasonal treat when the fields are yielding.
Those with a pickling itch will be buying this type of cucumber that looks like it’s having goosebumps. I was surprised that no vinegar is needed. The most basic version (in Polish only) calls for only salt; cooled, boiled water; dill flowers; and garlic. Others embellish it with mustard seeds, cherry and/or black currant leaves. They are good to crunch within 3 days.