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Kim Shook

Salting Cabbage for Slaw

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I've been seeing more and more advice lately that you should salt cabbage and let it sit for awhile to get some of the water out. I've never done this. And yes, my slaw bowl always has water at the bottom. But I've always just drained it and had no problem with the slaw itself being watery. My question is: Isn't the cabbage limp after its been salted? When I've seen it done on TV, it LOOKS limp.

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I do it all the time. Yes, it does get a bit limp, but that's mainly structural. In your mouth, it retains its crunch, especially after you rinse it and wring out the liquid in a towel. And doing so completely eliminates the water at the bottom of the bowl.

Try it! I think you'll be a convert.

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I always salt the cabbage, like Chris above. I think that while it indeed limps up the cabbage, it also enables the cabbage to absorb some of the dressing and almost recrisps it.

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Salting causes rupturing of the cell walls releasing water, thus making a more plyable slaw..

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk

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I do it for the reasons Chris Amirault stated above: it eliminates the watery slaw problem completely.

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Salting causes rupturing of the cell walls releasing water, thus making a more plyable slaw..

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk

Technically, it doesn't rupture. Osmosis pulls water through the cell barrier.

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Thanks, y'all! I'll do it then. How long do you think? I've seen anywhere from 1 hour on up.

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My experience is that salting ahead improves the texture; it still has good bite, but doesn't taste so raw. Also salted slaw seems more forgiving when it comes to dressing the slaw in advance. Unsalted slaw that sits after being dressed gets watery and the flavors get diluted.

I toss my shaved cabbage into a colander, salt in layers, mix, then fill a large bowl with water and set it on top for weight. Two hours seems to do the trick, or a bit less if time is short. I don't wring it out after this, although it can only help. Too lazy.

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I've always salted too. It doesn't take all that long to get the desired effect, about 45 minutes to an hour. I also add some vinegar at this point sometimes. I started doing this after making an extremely simple but satisfying dish out of Olney's Lulu's Provencal Table (p.293) where you salt and marinate the cabbage for about an hour, drain and squeeze dry (you can even wash it if you want, though I don't because it's an extra step and don't think it does much), then toss with good olive oil et voila. It's great in the summer as is, and pairs with everything. I add carrot and mayo to get an american style slaw (plenty of black pepper too), and the vinegar adds a nice touch of complexity when balanced against the creaminess of the mayo.

Another reason why this is good beyond eliminating the watery slaw problem, is that while retaining its crunch as everyone else mentioned, it makes the slaw more pliable. This makes it easier to eat, since its more manageable: it lays a little more nicely on a plate and gives you more control over it with the fork (I'm into the little things).

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Salting causes rupturing of the cell walls releasing water, thus making a more plyable slaw..

Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk

Technically, it doesn't rupture. Osmosis pulls water through the cell barrier.

Guess I should have paid more attention in Class!! :smile: Correct.


Edited by Paul Bacino (log)

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ive salted for some time now. initially the slaw tasted too salty for me as Ive cut down my NaCl quite a bit.

i solved this by rinsing the salted slaw and then using a salad 'spinner' to get that water off Tooot Sweet.

:laugh:

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Depends on how far in advance you want to make your slaw.

I never salt, in part becasue there is far too much (hidden) salt in our diet, but also because there is no reason. As long as you shave the cabbage very thinly, I don't find it an issue.

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Well, I tried it and neither of us liked it very much. We really like super-crisp slaw with a strong cabbage bite (one of my favorite snacks since childhood is nibbling on a salted raw cabbage core). The salting and sitting seemed to adversely affect both of these for us.

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Oh, well. Fewer steps for me, I guess :laugh: . I'm glad I tried it. Thank you all for your help!

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Depends on how far in advance you want to make your slaw.

I never salt, in part becasue there is far too much (hidden) salt in our diet, but also because there is no reason. As long as you shave the cabbage very thinly, I don't find it an issue.

But there is a reason; as a matter of fact, more than one are given above.

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Noticing this thread was an interesting coincidence since I had just been researching potsticker recipes where salting the cabbage is also done. A far different application though.

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I'd definitely do the salt and drain/squeeze for potstickers. Even if I wanted soup dumplings (xiao long bao), I'd want that to be meat juice and not cabbage juice.

I've done slaw both ways, and prefer it finely shaved and not salted. I like that extra cabbagey bite & the texture.

It doesnt hold as well, but its easy enough to toss on the dressing at the last minute, so that doesnt matter to me.

The spouse however, who is the big slaw eater in the family, prefers the slight limpness of a pre-treatment w salt.

<eta> Now, if I ever get the recipe for Pappadeaux's slaw, I will follow it slavishly, pre-salt or otherwise.


Edited by Kouign Aman (log)

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From a book on Greek cooking, I picked up the technique of 'massaging' the shredded cabbage with a bit of salt (and an optional splash of lemon juice). There is no need to let the cabbage sit, you just rub the wole lot gently with your fingers for a couple of minutes. It reduces the volume of the cabbage by at least 1/3 (water, probably). I really like the way this takes off that 'raw' mouthfeel that makes chewing down a helping of slaw (or any other type cabbage salad) sometimes seem like too hard a job for my jaws. Because of the small amount of salt needed I don't feel it makes the cabbage overly salty, and so I never bother to rinse.

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