Heritage-Inspired Delight: Authentic German Cucumber Salad Recipe

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This delightful German Cucumber Salad has been a cherished family recipe passed down from my Great-Grandmother, bringing a taste of tradition to our summer gatherings. While the method might differ from what you’re accustomed to, it’s the only way I’ve ever prepared it!

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Heritage-Inspired Delight: Authentic German Cucumber Salad Recipe

Known as Gurkensalat, this rendition of the recipe is both simple and delicious, a culinary gem with a 100% German heritage. Over the years, serving this dish has revealed various regional variations in Germany, akin to the diverse ways Americans approach apple pie. Some add potatoes, others incorporate carrots, and some use soured cream, creating a medley of flavors. Our family tradition includes leaving the cucumber skins on for added texture and flavor, although peeling them before slicing is an option. While marinating the salad for several hours enhances the flavor, my personal preference is savoring it immediately after the addition of heavy cream!

How to Craft Your Own German Cucumber Salad

Commence the preparation by slicing the cucumbers. A mandolin ensures uniformity, although hand-chopping can be therapeutic if you enjoy the rhythm of chopping vegetables. Next, finely chop the onions and add both to a bowl, generously covering them with 1/4 cup (no misprint!) of salt. This step draws out the cucumber’s liquid, a surprising revelation when you witness the substantial amount released. Allow it to sit for a couple of hours.

Once the liquid has been drained, rinse the cucumbers and onions in cool water. While some prefer a thorough rinse, we appreciate a saltier flavor, opting for a light rinse. Taste testing at this juncture is crucial; if it’s too salty now, it will remain so during preparation. Remember that the addition of heavy cream later will mitigate some of the saltiness.

After rinsing, introduce heavy cream, vinegar, and freshly chopped dill to the mix. Stir thoroughly.

The salad can be savored immediately, a personal favorite, or refrigerated until ready to serve, even overnight.

Heritage-Inspired Delight: Authentic German Cucumber Salad Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 medium cucumbers (about 8 cups cucumbers) / (approximately 1.8-3.6 kg cucumbers)
  • 1 large white onion, thinly sliced / (1 large white onion, thinly sliced)
  • 3 tablespoons salt / (3 tablespoons salt)
  • 2 teaspoons vinegar / (2 teaspoons vinegar)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream or sour cream / (240 ml heavy whipping cream or sour cream)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped fine / (2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped fine)

Instructions:

  1. Slice cucumbers thin and place them in a large bowl. (We use a mandoline.)
  2. Slice the onion and add it to the bowl with the cucumber.
  3. Sprinkle salt over the top. Allow it to sit for 2 hours or until there is a significant amount of liquid in the bowl, almost covering the cucumbers.
  4. Drain cucumbers and onions and rinse with cold water. (Taste test here. You can always rinse again if it seems too salty.)
  5. Add heavy cream, vinegar, and fresh dill, and stir well.
  6. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.

Heritage-Inspired Delight: Authentic German Cucumber Salad Recipe

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