why does some Coleslaw turm 'watery'?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by coulis-o, Apr 14, 2011.

  1. coulis-o

    coulis-o

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    scenario: ran out of mayo to make coleslaw at work, so i went and got some Hellmans mayo from the shop and use that.

    a day or so after the coleslaw had begun to turn very watery. something that never usually happens with the mayo that is usually bought in and used.

    i started to think that it was the different mayo used that caused the coleslaw to turn watery, or could it be the juice and water in the onions and carrots seeping out into the mayo?
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    The salt in the slaw draws out the water from the cabbage. You'll notice the cabbage is somewhat wilted. It's pretty universal in coleslaw. Some recipes presalt the cabbage and let it drain to help control this before mixing up the slaw.
     
  3. ishbel

    ishbel

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    I only use coleslaw on the day it's made. I always use home-made mayonnaise. 
     
  4. coulis-o

    coulis-o

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    sure it keeps for a couple of days even if using homemade mayonnaise.

    yes phatch, can see the salt being responsible for drawing out the moisture of the cabbage and even the onion and carrot too, probably even more so.

    however, i do  also recall using coarse rock salt instead of sea salt. regardless i still wonder if the choice/make of mayo made a difference maybe
     
  5. ishbel

    ishbel

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    The reason I DON'T keep it is that I found the same problem you mention.  Even though I don't use shop-bought or commercially-available mayo.
     
  6. panini

    panini

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    worked in our family deli as a kid. Back then we used hellmans. The commercial gallons were always Heavy Mayonaise and the

    grocery store was not.

    I can also remember that when I shortcutted and added brine and mayo seperately we would not be able to remix to get rid of

    the watery brine.

    We always made a homogeneous mix of the brine and mayo, then mixed. This allowed us to take a spoon and remix it back quickly when it weeped and it stayed mixed

    hth

    pan
     
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I've always attributed it to the salt drawing out the water from the vegetables.  It doesn't bother me, I rather like the coleslaw juice seeping into the bread of my sandwich. 
     
  8. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I never use salt in slaw nor red cabbage. Slaw will weep so after it is made put it in a strainer on top of a bowl then wrap it the liquid drips down. Another way is add some pectin or modified food starch to the slaw, this is done commercially and it helps hold th liquid  to the strands of cabbage. The red cabbage will turn the slaw pink or purple in a matter  of hours. There is a famous deli chain here in Florida that I developed a formula for their slaw and Tuna salad years ago Here is the slaw

    2 carrots peeled and shredded

    1 med head cabbage shredded

    2 heaping Tablespoons celery seed

    1 1/4 cups cider vineagar

    3/4 cup sugar

    2 T corn syrup

    1 t white pepper

    1 cup  HELLMANS ONLY MAYO

    1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley

    1 small can crushed pineapple(optional)

    In s/s bowl put mayo, vinegar .sugar, corn syrup, pepper,celery seed,carrots. (pineapple if wanted0

    Mix all together well with a s/s wire whip then add cabbage. store in fridge,chill covered at least 2 hours ,

    try and produce only enough for a day.

    Reason I spec Hellmans is that it contains just enough salt in its own right to the mix. others have to much

    If you want you can put shredded red cabbage on top but not in.

    Note.* If you want to add onion home you can, we did not because the onion cut down on the shelf life of slaw.
     
    elizabeth d likes this.
  9. chefross

    chefross

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    Does anybody NOT make slaw with vinegar?

    I have a person who maintains there is no vinegar of any kind in their coleslaw. I find this strange.
     
  10. panini

    panini

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    Chef Ross

    I prefer the coleslaw that's made when I visit my Hispanic friends.

    They use lime juice for the acid, heavy cilantro, onions, pepers, small amount of tomato and no mayo.

    pan

    They use a little mayo for the bolillos ;>D
     
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Isn't that more of a curtido?
     
  12. benway

    benway

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    If and when you salt cabbage to prevent watery coleslaw how is this done?  Soak in saltwater?  Blanched in saltwater?  Just sprinkled with salt?
     
  13. panini

    panini

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    Hey Patch,

         We eat it fresh and crisp. The curtido I know is the same ingredients but kind of marinated and not as crisp.

    You know, you are probably right. I'm not really up on this.

    When my guys make it they call it co loss. lol coleslaw

    pan
     
  14. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Cook's Illustrated just slices the cabbage, salts it and puts it in a colander to drain. They slightly oversalt on the concept that they'll lose some in the drained liquid. You want to finish with it at the proper salt level. Even if you salt lightly and let it drain it helps. I salt lightly as I'm on a sodium restriction. The other nice thing about this technique is that it gives you time to "ripen" the coleslaw. Coleslaw is a dish that improves with standing time, just like potato salad. And now you can age it overnight or a few hours at least without it going watery.

    Yes, Panini, curtido is more of a pickle as it should age a few days in the liquid. Good stuff though.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2011
  15. amandayum

    amandayum

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    My mother-in-law used to make cole slaw with just cabbage and mayo.  It's hideous.  Don't do it.  Ever.
     
  16. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Add green pepper and carrot and I call this old fashioned Health Salad
     
     
  17. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Phatch
    To me leaving it overnight only assures a soggy mess.. As far as their salt process it reminds me of the start of making sauerkraut not slaw. Most people like a crispy slaw, at least down here they do. The stuff that comes already made in supermarkets is soggy stuff and to me is uneatable. It sits there for days
     
  18. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    It certainly has a peak but it's good for a day or two in my opinion. It's still fairly crisp too. But tastes do vary. The nice thing about the salting and draining is that the liquid wept by the cabbage is not particularly pleasant so that could be part of why older slaw has a bad reputation.

    Give it a try before dismissing it.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2011
  19. chefross

    chefross

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    I wish I could but this person maintains that this is what she grew up eating. Cabbage, mayo, tabasco, salt and pepper. It truly is bland and most people don't care for it that way.

    On another note......sauerkraut is nothing more than cabbage and salt allowed to age.
     
  20. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    It all depends on what your idea of cole slaw is.  My idea of coleslaw is that it is a condiment.  It is a topping for pulled pork sandwiches and hot dogs and a few other sandwiches.  I don't particularly like to eat it as a salad.  Therefore I keep it really simple.  Cabbage, a little carrot, mayo, red wine vinegar, and celery salt.  It's just something crisp, creamy, and refreshing to top my sandwiches, that's all.