The Secret to the Crunchiest Cucumber Salads

published Aug 14, 2019
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From June through August, I can’t seem to get enough cucumber salad in my life. It’s so hot and sticky in North Carolina, I need the refreshing crunch of cucumber to sustain me until the cooler fall air arrives. Emphasis on the crunch, though — a soggy, soft cucumber salad most definitely doesn’t offer the same satisfaction. But I found the trick to ensuring my summer cucumber salads are as crisp as possible.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

The secret? Salt the slices first.

No matter the salad recipe you’re making, salt the cut-up cucumber beforehand. The extra step allows them to release some of their water — keeping them extra crisp even when they get tossed with the dressing. It also ensures the dressing doesn’t become watered-down, which is especially useful in creamy mayo-based cucumber salads.

Just place the slices or chunks in a colander over a bowl or sink. Sprinkle them with a couple of pinches of salt, toss to coat, and let them rest for about 30 minutes. Pat them dry with a paper towel and proceed with the recipe. You can go a little lighter on the salt than the recipe calls for since you’ll have already seasoned the cucumbers a bit in this process.

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