Are you ready? It's time for our 14th annual photo contest! Enter your best pictures of the year, for a chance to win a calendar and annual subscription here. Hurry! Deadline for entries is October 21.
My niece called last night, she has been doing part time catering , and asked if I knew of a way to slice cucumbers in advance of an event to keep them from turning slimy.
She had been slicing them like on Thursday or Friday night for an event on the weekend. She says that she slices them, puts them in zip lock bags but by the time the weekend rolls around they "feel" slimy.
I don't have a clue, but if anyone has any ideas about this, I would appreciate telling me.
Maybe, she needs to take them from the bag and rinse well, pat dry and proceed to the event?
I haven't really tested this with sliced cucumbers, but here's something I did recently that might be worth a try... I had several larger cukes earlier this week that I peeled, seeded, and diced up, thinking that we could use them in a salad. They were't as crispy as I'd have liked, so I decided to put them in an ice brine (a technique I learned from Linda Z's recipes in Joy of Pickling).
I had, hmm, maybe 4 cups of chopped cukes, added a heaping tablespoon of kosher salt, then dumped in a couple handfuls of ice cubes. After maybe 2 hours, I drained, rinsed, drained again and put them in the fridge. We've been munching on them the past several days (I'm eating some right now, in fact, with bruschetta spooned over them), and so far I havne't been noticing any sliminess. They are slightly salty from the brine... in fact, I'll bet the salt inhibits any bacteria that might cause that slimy feel.
The only other things I can think of is not to do them in advance like that... I know there must be so many last-minute preparations already, but if she's got a mandoline it only takes a couple of minutes to whiz through a whole pile of cucumbers.
So maybe it's the baggies that are the problem? I've sliced and bagged cukes and other veggies the night before a gathering, never noticed a problem... but I generally poke a couple of holes (with a fork) in any baggie I'm using for veggies, seems to help the same way the vent does on my fancy/pricey tupperware veggie keeper.
Jill is right - poking holes is the way to go. Also, rather than just putting them in the ziploc bags, have her wrap the sliced cukes in slightly moist paper towels and then put them in the forked bags. The very slightly moist paper towels will wick away the excess moisture that the pre-cut cukes produce. The air flow in the forked bags will alleviate condensation which creates the slime.
Thanks, Dea! I'm going to start using the paper towels. I put them around half a cut pepper on on the end of a half-sliced cuke before putting it back in the crisper (secured with a rubber band), but somehow I never thought of using them inside a bag.
BTW, a number of years ago the baggie folks marketed veggie bags, which had teeny holes for ventilation, but they must not have caught on. They worked, though!
Same trick with the plastic bags -- put a few fork holes in them. I also have a fancy tupperware container with a little vent for keeping veggies fresh, and it really works well (on basil, peppers, lettuce, cukes, etc)... but I probably wouldn't have "shelled out" for it if I weren't at a friend's tupperware party!