It's fun to make your own and customise your spices to your own taste.
½ cup salt
6 cups water
2.25L malt vinegar
5 cups brown sugar
25g whole mixed pickling spice
10cm piece of cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole cloves
You can buy pickling spices ready mixed or make your own.
Combine 1 tablespoon each of black peppercorns, mustard seeds, whole allspice and dried chillies 1 teaspoon each of coriander seeds and whole cloves, 1 bay leaf and 1 cinnamon stick, both broken up, and 2 blades of mace. Keep in an airtight jar.
1. Wash the gherkins and scrub lightly with a coarse cloth to remove any roughness. Mix the salt and water in a non-metallic bowl, add the gherkins and let stand for 24 hours.
2. The next day, put the vinegar, sugar, pickling spice, cinnamon and cloves into a saucepan, bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, and simmer for 5 minutes.
3. Drain the gherkins, put in a bowl and pour over enough boiling water to cover them. Pour off the boiling water immediately and, while they are hot, pack the gherkins into sterilised jars.
4. Pour the hot vinegar mixture over the gherkins to cover them and seal at once with non-metallic lids. Keep for at least 3 weeks before using.