Of Course You Should Salt Your Salad Greens, But When You Do It Matters

In the event you’ve never thought of timing and salt

Mark Bittman
Published in
3 min readOct 3, 2019


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The word salad comes from the Latin word for salt, so it’s no surprise that the two concepts go hand in hand: salting vegetables, even briefly, can maximize their crispness and flavor by causing them to release their water. But when should you add salt? Turns out that timing matters. Here are some thoughts below.


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When slaws are made with salted cabbage, they are noticeably less watery and stay crisp and fresh for a few days longer. Put sliced cabbage in a colander, sprinkle with salt (about a tablespoon for 6 cups cabbage), and let sit. After about an hour, rinse and drain. For extra crispness, rinse, then wring dry in a towel after salting; if that’s not your goal, just pat dry after rinsing.


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Ordinary cukes benefit a lot from salting. First peel, seed and slice them. Then use the same procedure as for cabbage.


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Sliced radishes may be salted like cabbage and cucumbers — they become milder and crisper — but only for an absolute maximum of 45 minutes, or they will become limp.


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Lightly salting tomatoes always improves their flavor and tightens their flesh, but they are fragile. Use less salt (about 1 teaspoon per pound) and leave them for only15 minutes or so. Put salted chopped tomatoes in a colander(and set a bowl under it if you want to trap the tomato water for using in stocks or sauces)…



Mark Bittman

Has published 30 books, including How to Cook Everything and VB6: The Case for Part-Time Veganism. Newsletter at markbittman.com.