Varieties

There are two varieties of cucumber: that with the smooth epidermis and that with the spiny epidermis. But only that with the spiny epidermis is in demand as in the pickled form known as gherkin. It is cultivated and harvested for export purposes only as there is no internal demand for it in our country. Gherkin is sorted according to four grades depending on the size and pickled in three different preparations according to market requirements.

The classification according to size is specified in counts which denote the number of fruits needed to make up a kilogram in weight. The general classification starts from 300 to 450 per kilogram as the highest in value and 5 to 10 as the lowest. In measuring the volume of the fruit, diameter has more importance than length.

The 3 categories according to the media of packing are 'in natural vinegar', 'in acetic acid' and 'in brine'. Salinity of gherkin preserved in brine (as sodium chloride) should be 15%, with an allowance for 1% (+) or (-), acidity (as lactic acid) >0.6 % and pH <3.5%. Acidity of gherkins packed in acetic acid and natural vinegar should be 3.2%, with an allowance for 0.2% (+) or (-) and its salinity should be 4%, with an allowance for 0.2% (+) or (-). Changes to these are effected according to the specifications laid down by the buyers from time to time.

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