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Weeping Potato Salad

From: Dan 
Sent: Saturday, September 01, 2012 1:01 PM
Subject: Watery Potato Salad

Good Morning Uncle Phaedrus! 

I do not have a mystery recipe that I would like for you to find today.  I'm just looking for some good advice.
I'm making my mother's potato salad for this weekend, which does taste very good.  The recipe is done more or 
less by taste as you are going along the making process.

My problem is that on the second day, and further on, when I go to the refrigerated leftovers, there is a pool 
of water in the bottom of the container.  Stirring in the water to the potato salad only makes the potato salad more loose.  
Usually by the third day it is so watery that it is not appealing.  

Did I mention that this also happens when I make chicken salad too?

My mom's preparations did not have this problem.  Unfortunately, she is gone.  Her recipe had all of the usual suspects: 
Potatoes, Eggs, Celery, Onions, Mustard, Mayonnaise, with salt and pepper to taste.  I have tried shocking the potatoes 
when done into ice water.  Similarly, I have tried shocking the hard-boiled eggs.  I even have tried bringing all of the 
ingredients back to room temperature prior to assemblage. I suspect that the liquid is coming from the celery, and, celery 
does have a lot of water in it, and I know that Mom's recipe included it.

That's why I am here with you...any ideas?  What am I doing wrong here?

Thanks in advance!


Hello Dan,

I was amazed at the sheer numbers of people who have posted about this same problem on various cooking message boards. There are hundreds, and, of course, there are multiple suggestions.

I cannot, of course, know exactly why your mother’s did not get watery but yours does. If you were able to tell me all of the exact differences between your method and your mother’s method then the answer to your problem would be obvious to you, I’m sure.

Here are the various suggestions that I saw on all those message boards in order of probability. These should be tried individually until you find the one that works. If you do them all at once, you won’t know which one was the right one.

1) Potatoes can absorb water while cooking, and then release it when cool. Be sure to drain the boiled potatoes thoroughly, then let them cool to room temperature in the pot. Don’t let them sit in the water and cool, and don’t put them in the refrigerator immediately. Drain them again after they cool.

2) Salt can make vegetables shed water. Cut way back on the amount of salt you use in preparation. If you like salt, add it on your plate at the table.

3) Be sure to use REAL mayonnaise, not Miracle Whip or any other form of salad dressing.

4) Reduce the amount of celery and onion that you use – these may be adding extra liquid.

5) if you are using red potatoes, switch to russet.

6) This one is strange, and doesn’t seem likely to me, but several people swore that it worked – Don’t taste the potato salad twice with the same spoon. Use a fresh spoon for each tasting. - The idea here is that saliva contains an enzyme that makes the potatoes shed liquid.


Hi Phaed!

...Funny thing happened on the way to the Labor Day...

I tried two of your suggestions, I changed my tasting spoon every time I tasted the food.  
This makes perfect sense to me in these days of food contamination, even though I had not been as religious 
as I should have been in the past in this area.

I also let all of the ingredients come to room temperature prior to prep.  It took ~2 hours to cool before I could start.  
I did the same thing with the celery, onions, and eggs.

The funny part is that the entire batch was consumed at our gathering, so I still do not know if this technique worked!  
However, I do think that you are on the correct path about the room temperature, so I will do this the next time!



Pembina Plum Jelly

-----Original Message----- 
From: Perry 
Sent: Saturday, September 01, 2012 10:38 AM
Subject: pembina plum

Hi Guys

I am looking for a recipe for pembina plum jelly with little or no sugar


Hello Perry,

Here's the scoop:

1) There are no special recipes for pembina plum jelly. You just use your pembina plums in regular plum jelly recipes.

2) When you make jelly, as opposed to making jam, you remove all of the fruit pulp beforehand. You are then using what is basically just plum juice. Therefore, it contains very little natural pectin. So, you have to add something to make the jelly "set", such as pectin or gelatin.

3) Most pectin requires sugar to make it work, else it won't set. You can buy low-sugar or no-sugar pectins that work with added calcium instead of added sugar.

4) Low sugar and no sugar jelly recipes are specialty recipes that use a specialty product (low- or no-sugar pectin). As a result, there are very few recipes for them on the web whereas there are plenty of jelly recipes with a lot of sugar. For low-sugar jelly recipes, the best source is the low- or no- sugar pectin product box or cookbooks put out by the companies that make low- or no- sugar pectin. There are also cookbooks from the sugar substitute companies, such as stevia or Splenda. There also are some cookbooks for diabetics that have such recipes.

There is a sugar free recipe using gelatin below. I don't know if it's a good recipe, but here it is.

There are a couple of low-sugar recipes on these sites:
What's Cook'n

Pick Your Own

Recipe using Pomona Pectin here:
Pomona Pectin

Tips on making low sugar jellies here:
Well Tell Me

Your best bet may be to just go and buy some low-sugar or no-sugar pectin and use the recipes that come with it. They may be just generic recipes that say "fruit juice". Use your pembina plum juice with them

There are jelly recipes using stevia on this site:
Sugar Free Stevia

You can try using plum juice in this recipe that uses Splenda. It should work fine:
Splenda Tastebook


Sugar-Free Plum Jelly

4 tsp. unflavored gelatin
2 c. unsweetened plum juice
2 tbsp. sugar substitute
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
Yellow food coloring, as desired

  Wash and rinse 2 half pint jars and lids.  Drain on towel.  Soften 
unflavored gelatin in 1/2 of juice.  Bring remaining 1 1/2 cups of juice to 
a boil. Remove from heat and add softened gelatin, stirring to dissolve. 
Add sugar substitute, lemon juice and food coloring.  Bring to a full 
rolling boil. Remove and fill jars to within 1/8" top of jar.  Place lids on 
jars and screw band tight.  Keep in refrigerator.

Cabbage Salad

From: Al
Sent: Sunday, September 02, 2012 6:21 PM
Subject: cabbage salad

Old fashioned cabbage salad make with mayonnaise.?  
Al, Sooke BC  Thanks

Hello Al,

I have a bit of uncertainty about “cabbage salad.” You see, where I grew up, we didn’t really have anything called “cabbage salad”. We had a dish made with cabbage and mayonnaise, sometimes a little onion, sometimes shredded carrots, but we called it “slaw” or “coleslaw.” When I search for “cabbage slaw” recipes, I find some like the dish we called “slaw”, but I find dozens of others that contain apples or other fruit, or nuts, or bacon. There’s so much variety in the recipes that I am uncertain as to what you want. Searching for “old fashioned cabbage salad” yields many recipes, but they almost all use vinegar and oil and dry mustard and no mayonnaise. Of course, there are a lot of coleslaw/slaw recipes that use a vinegar and oil dressing rather than mayonnaise, as well.

Below are some cabbage salad recipes that I think may be what you want. They are similar to what I call slaw or coleslaw. If these are not what you want, please let me know.


Cabbage Salad

1 sm. head cabbage
1 lg. tomato
2 carrots
1 bell pepper
1 onion
1/4 c. mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Shred cabbage coarsely.  Shred carrots.  Dice tomatoes, bell pepper and onions.  
Then combine all ingredients in mixing bowl.  Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  
Cabbage Salad

1 sm. head cabbage, shredded
3 carrots, grated
1/2 green pepper, chopped

1 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/4 tsp. mustard seed
1/2 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

  Mix all together. 
Cabbage Salad

6 c. cabbage
1/4 c. sliced green onion
1 c. mayonnaise 
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 tbsp. celery seeds
1 tbsp. salt

  Combine shredded cabbage and green pepper.  Blend together mayonnaise or salad dressing, sugar, 
vinegar, celery seeds and salt, stirring until sugar is dissolved.  Toss mayonnaise mixture lightly 
with cabbage mixture. 
Cabbage Salad

1/2 head cabbage
3-4 tbsp. sugar
1 sm. onion
Salt and pepper to taste
1 c. mayonnaise

  Finely shred cabbage and onion.  Sprinkle with sugar, salt, and pepper in large bowl.  
Add mayonnaise to moisten.  Chill well. 

Chicken Pietro

Someone was looking for chicken pietro like Biaggi's Italian Restaurant. See these sites:

Rosalyn's Kitchen

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