Asier – applicable for marrow or cucumber pickle

I’m still looking through my old Unusual Preserves book, and this is so unusual I had to look it up – asier! What is it? I’m guessing it’s something similar to a marrow or a cucumber so maybe a courgette, or a gherkin? Wikipedia says ‘Asier is a male given name of Basque origin, meaning ‘the beginning’‘ – well obviously it’s not that! Amazon unexpectedly is of more help, offering to sell me some for $5.49 and tells me they are:

  • imported from Germany
  • large, sliced cucumbers
  • peeled, seeded, and pickled in a sweet brine with mustard seeds and peppercorns
  • a Scandanavian specialty
  • use them in summer salads, potato salad, on top of hot dogs, or just as a crunchy snack

They sound very delicious, just the sort of thing I like! I explore further and https://www.scandikitchen.co.uk/ gives more information, describing the vegetable as a white cucumber:

As Danish as it gets – the king of pickled cucumber, to be enjoyed with pork only (The Danes make the rules, not us). Don’t ask us what variety of cucumbers is used to make these. We’ve tried to find out. Maybe it is a state secret? We’ve finally managed to locate a picture of a seed packet from 1970’s Denmark, so if there are any cucumber experts out there who can tell us exactly what kind of cucumbers are actually “asier”, do let us know. We get asked about this quite a lot and even Bronte’s mum doesn’t know the answer and she normally knows everything. Asier is a must if serving Danish roast pork at Christmas – serve 3-4 strips of Asier on the plate next to the pork and red cabbage, it is delicious. IF you try this with something other than pork, don’t tell the Danes or they’ll banish you.

If you want to see a picture of a jar of them, here’s a link, as I post it they are all sold out:

https://www.scandikitchen.co.uk/product/beauvais-asier-560g-2/

Back to the recipe in Unusual preserves, and now that I look at it more closely, there is an explanation of an asier! I am a very careless reader! ‘In Denmark, the asier is grown especially for pickling purposes. It is like a small, green marrow, and it is raised from seed in the spring, the same way as the marrow. The recipe given here is equally good when used for cucumbers or small marrows.

Asier

  • 5 large cucumbers, or 3 small marrows, or 5 asiers
  • 1 pint malt vinegar
  • 2 lb sugar
  • a good piece of horseradish, cut into slices
  • ½ lb shallots, thinly sliced
  • a little dill
  • 2½ pints white vinegar
  • 1 pint water
  1. peel the asiers, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out all the seeds with a silver spoon
  2. cut into pieces about 4×2 inches
  3. cover with salt and leave all night
  4. next day drain and dry well with a clean cloth
  5. put into the malt vinegar, bring to the boil and boil for a few minutes
  6. cover and leave to cool
  7. meanwhile, place white vinegar, shallots, dill, horseradish in a pan with the sugar bring to the boil and cook until the shallots are tender
  8. drain the asier, and also the shallots and place in pickling jars and pour over pickling liquid (presumably the white vinegar and spices)
  9. allow to cool completely then cover tightly
  10. this can be eaten straight away or will also keep for years if required

My featured image is of some lightly pickled courgettes I made several years ago, much more simply – just sliced, salted for about half an hour, rinsed, and with a cider or white wine vinegar.

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