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Make Delicious Cucumber Salad Danish Style

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Last Modified: November 27, 2023
Published: November 27, 2023

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A Good Salad Any Time of The Year

cucumber salad

No one expects to see a recipe for cucumber salad this time of year, but our granddaughter requested it for Thanksgiving, and I wasn't surprised! While you usually consider it a summer staple, it's a great dish anytime.

Our whole family loves this Danish-style cucumber salad, and it works with any menu because it's crisp and crunchy, a little bit sweet, and a little bit salty. Around our house, this dish is affectionately known as "cukies."

Today, the crisp green cylindrical fruit is among the most popular items in the produce aisle. Yes, you read that right. Cucumbers are classified as fruits. Thanks to modern agriculture and transportation, wonderful cucumbers are available year-round!

fresh cucumbers

Interesting History Of Our Love For Cucumbers

We will get to the cucumber salad recipe, I promise! But first, some fascinating horticultural history. Cucumbers were cultivated well before Jesus was born! They originated in India about 3000 years ago and quickly spread into Greece, Rome, Europe, and beyond.

It wasn't long after the Pilgrims arrived in North America they hustled up and began growing cucumbers in their new country.

The most famous cucumber fan of all was Emperor Tiberius, who reigned in 14 to 37 AD. He was so crazy about them that he insisted on having them on his table daily. That meant during summer and winter as well!

To meet his demands, the Romans reportedly grew them in raised beds on wheels, allowing the plants to be moved all over the place to take full advantage of the sunlight.

In the coldest part of winter, they were wheeled into some of the first primitive greenhouses lined with mirror stone, believed to have been shiny sheet mica, to reflect more sunlight. How Tiberius would have loved today's produce departments!

Cukes Are Much More Than A Pretty Green Face

Cucumbers offer nearly endless health benefits. They are much more than a crudité or a circular slice of green on the salad bar! They are a great, filling snack with a lot of bang for the calorie buck!

Cucumbers are a wonderfully refreshing way to hydrate because they are 95 percent water. But don't be fooled! They've got lots more going for them, so that's good for you! Remember, unpeeled cucumbers give us the highest nutritional value. Look at just a few of the nutritional benefits in an article from the Cleveland Clinic!

  • Strengthens bones
  • Promotes gut health
  • It helps manage blood sugar and weight.
  • Reduce the risk of cancer and other diseases
  • Improves heart health

How To Make Cucumber Salad Like They Do In Denmark

The Danes like sweet and sour dishes like this. It complements their simple meals of fish or pork and potatoes. In Denmark, this dish is called agurkasalat.

Salt and Vinegar Cucumbers start with firm, fresh, slicing cucumbers. My absolute favorite is an English cucumber, which is sometimes called a "burpless" cucumber. However, almost any good "cuke" will work!

Most of the time, I begin by peeling the cukes. If you select a thin-skinned English one, you can leave it on. Fresh ones are best, as always. I remove most of the thick, waxy peel when I buy grocery store cucumbers.

peeled cucumbers

If I make a big family-size batch for summer at the lake, I use a food processor to slice the cucumbers and I slice the onion almost paper thin. I dump them right into the glass bowl as I go. I will use the same bowl to serve them. Since the salad is acidic, a glass bowl, or even a plastic one, is ideal to use.

For the two of us, I use a little hand slicer. A chef knife works just fine if you want to take the time. I usually don't! Do you?

The Danes do like their salt. You can certainly use less salt if you prefer. The salt is added to draw moisture out of the cucumbers and forms a brine where the cukes develop their flavor. We do not eat the brine, but sometimes save it and add more cucumbers.

You might like a little less salt than they do, but most of the salt stays behind in the brine. Once the brine has made everything all juicy, add the vinegar, sugar, and pepper. Adjust the flavors until it suits your palate.

mixing sugar and pepper into cucumber salad

This salad is a cousin to pickles without the hassle of canning. It's a wonderful "keeper" that stays crisp and crunchy in the fridge for a week or more. You can even add more cucumbers to the brine and readjust the sugar, salt, and pepper.

When fresh cucumbers are abundant, it's perfect for outdoor picnics because it doesn't pose the dangers of mayonnaise-based salads. If you like dill, add it! The Danes often add fresh-snipped dill to the mixture when it's available.

You can easily add more sugar, salt, or vinegar until it tastes just right to you once you're ready to serve them. They keep a week or more in the fridge.

Here are a couple of more salad recipes you might enjoy. Old-Fashioned Cottage Cheese Salad and Fast And Easy 5-Ingredient Broccoli Slaw.

Yield: 6-8 servings

Salt and Vinegar Cucumbers

salt and vinegar cucumbers

A classic cucumber salad with just cucumbers, onion, salt, sugar, vinegar, and pepper. Great, any time of the year!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 Long slender cucumbers
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 2 Tbsp salt, you can start with less
  • 2-3 Tbsp sugar, or to taste
  • 2-3 Tbsp white vinegar, or to taste
  • 1-2 tsp black pepper, or to taste

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice cucumbers thin. Peel and slice onion paper-thin. Layer cucumber and onions in a glass bowl, salting each layer as you go.
  2. Let the cucumber-onion-salt mixture sit while the salt draws the moisture out of the cucumbers. Do not drain. Add sugar, pepper, and vinegar and stir well. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or more.
  3. If needed, add more salt, vinegar, or sugar until you are happy with the way it tastes.
  4. Cover and refrigerate leftovers. Can add more cucumbers to the brine. Keeps a week or more in the fridge.

If you liked this recipe, you are my people! If you like this recipe, please share it on your social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter! It would sure tickle me, and I would be ever so grateful!

If you haven't already, please look for me on Facebook and Pinterest, where I will share easy, delicious, family-friendly recipes every week!

Love, GB (Betty Streff)

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20 comments on “Make Delicious Cucumber Salad Danish Style”

  1. I think the recipe may need an adjustment. It says 3 Tbsp of salt but maybe needs to be 3 tsp? I even had my co-worker check that I didn’t misread the recipe at 3 Tbsp. I followed the recipe to the T and as a salt lover, this is too salty. I added more cucumber and even water to blend it out. Will try again with only 3 tsp next time to see if this yields better results.

    1. So sorry! You can also drain off the brine and add water but by all means, start with 3 tsp and if you need to add more, it's easier to add than subtract!! The salt works to draw the liquid out of the cukes. And of course, it also depends on the size of the cucumber! Mine were HUGE for my large batch! Good luck and thanks for making me think!!

      1. I made this recipe twice. Once with an English cucumber and then with a garden cucumber.
        I was very disappointed as after the 2 hours in the fridge the cukes were completely soggy. No snap whatsoever to them.
        Same thing as with the garden cucumber. I cannot see these lasting a week in the fridge.

        1. I was away from home for a few days without access to a computer so I emailed you directly but it didn't go through.

          First of all, I'm genuinely sad you are disappointed in the cucumbers.

          I wish you lived next door so I could come and see and taste.

          My first thought is the amount of salt may have been too much for a single cucumber. Salt draws the liquid out of it and the moisture level varies in cukes.

          I also wonder how thin you sliced them.

          When cucumbers are made like this, they aren’t as crunchy as the fresh cucumber, but they should have some.

          Darn it, I hate this. If you dare to try it again I’d start by reducing the salt and maybe slice them a wee bit thicker. Let me know!

  2. The recipe above actually calls for 2 Tbsp of salt, not 3. However, that is still too much salt. 2 Tsp at the most, maybe less.

    1. Adjust the salt to taste. We use quite a bit- The salt mostly draws the water out of the cucumbers and onions forming a brine which you really don't eat. We serve with a slotted spoon and often reuse the brine adding more cucumbers and onions.

  3. This recipe was my kitchen duty growing up. After the salt rested with the cukes in the frig I had to squeeze out most of the salt then add then add the sugar, vinegar and return to the frig to marinade. Still make it for my family!

    1. It's an old fashioned one alright! My dad from Denmark grew up on it there too and he would have been 98 years old last month! Did you ever make the version with mayonnaise and a little dill? That's how my mother-in-law's family used to make it.

  4. My mom would mix sour cream and vinegar to a fairly thin consistency. Add salt and pepper and thinly sliced cucumbers. Absolutely delicious! Also cucumbers and onions thinly sliced with 2 parts vinegar and one part water with plenty of salt and pepper. I enjoy adding some lemon pepper.

  5. […] Salt and Vinegar Cucumbers […]

  6. I use rice wine vinegar and add dried dill weed in each layer with the salt and pepper. It’s a favorite in our house too!

  7. Cucumber is a fruit so that is why they classify it as one. If it has seeds, it is a fruit; no seeds, a vegetable!! Then you said it is a cousin to the pickle, also not true! Is is a pickle after being pickled with pickling spices!!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to comment! Salt and vinegar cucumbers are a cousin to pickles because of the salt and vinegar. Cucumbers themselves are not a pickle! You are right, they must be pickled to be a pickle! 😉 Cucumbers do have seeds in the center but are still classified as a fruit. I didn't invent the classifications but I think it's fun to learn how anything from the garden is classified! Just having some fun with words! I guess I got in a pickle without any spices! 😂🤣

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