Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Cool Breeze vs Corentine... A Cuke Comparison

As a follow up to my previous posts; 'In A Pickle' and 'The Need For Seed' pickling cucumbers are now producing, so it is time for the initial comparison.
Top-Cool Breeze  ~  Bottom-Corentine Hybrid

Cool Breeze as you may remember, was my all time favorite; dark green, crunchy-sweet, small-spined and seedless. I was really disappointed to hear that the seed for this little darling was not in stock due to crop failure. 
Corentine Hybrid was the closest substitute I could find. William Dam Seeds describes them as a "very early, improved European Gherkin". They are dark green with a smooth skin, slow seed development and are supposed to stay crisp long after pickling. 

Both varieties have the ability to set fruit under cool conditions and are 'parthenocarpic' which means they are self-pollinating. All the flowers are female and all will develop into cucumbers without the need for pollination. Both Cool Breeze and Corentine are great for making my signature, tiny cocktail-sized pickles and just as delicious when allowed to reach full size and eaten fresh.

I just finished fermenting a quart jar with 'The Perfect Pickler' There were not enough from the first harvest of small cukes to fill the quart, so I topped it up with cauliflower. If you have never tried it, Dilled Cauliflower is amazingly delicious!! With outside temperatures soaring, it was difficult to find a spot in the basement to keep the brine lagering temperature at 19C. for 4-5 days. Once fermentation was complete, I added 2 tablespoons of Organic Apple Cider Vinegar to the jar to make the pickles into 'full sours'. I have tried both half and full sours and prefer the later. If you have a Perfect Pickler, I used the instructions for 'Garliky Dill Pickles' on page 17 of the enclosed Instruction CookBooklet. I keep records for each fermented batch... ingredients and amounts used, the start date, how many days to ferment, at what temperature, if anything is added after fermentation and how much. Having a record makes it easy to change or replicate your recipes.

So far I am really impressed with Corentine as a substitute; I prefer their smooth skin and the symmetrical shape easily packs into jars. They look like the European cornichons I am familiar with.  
Move over Cool Breeze, I am leaning heavily towards a new favorite!
Corentine Hybrid Cucumber
Till next week, Happy Canada Day and Bon App├ętit!

Photos by Sally Rae

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