It sounds like a high-end spa treatment, but the technique is simple. Place about one teaspoon of salt in the palm of your hand and rub it firmly over the skin of the cucumber until a green foamy substance appears and you detect a slight "green" chlorophyll smell. The Japanese call this aku, or bitterness, and the salt helps remove it from the skin. Rinse and dry the cucumber, then try a slice. It is noticeably sweeter than an untreated cucumber and lightly seasoned, which makes salt-rubbed cucumbers tasty in salads, or just eaten raw.
Use this technique on smaller, thin-skinned cucumbers like Japanese and Persian varieties. The skins of larger varieties like Kirbys are too thick for this treatment.
Do you have any tips for tastier cucumbers in summer salads?
(Image: Anjali Prasertong)