Why You Should Start Microwaving Your Coleslaw

Coleslaw not only adds the perfect tanginess to pulled pork sandwiches, but it brings that crave-worthy crunch and cold-to-hot ratio that we oh-so desire. It's an essential element to Southern cuisine, picnics, and barbecues, and even though it's coated in a mayo-based dressing, it acts as a veggie to round out your meal. And let's face it, if you have leftover cabbage from steaming it the night before, what better way to use it up? 

Whether you prefer yours on the sweeter side, tangier side, or with a whole bunch of mix-ins, there's one thing all coleslaw recipes have in common: They can get a bit watery.

According to Healthline, a head of cabbage is 92% water. What releases water? Salt (via AllRecipes). When slaw dressing is tossed into your shredded cabbage, the salt that's present causes the water to leach out and dilute the flavor. Sure, you could salt the raw shredded cabbage and allow it to drain before mixing it with the dressing, but this could take hours. 

There's got to be a better way...

It releases water from cabbage quicker

The microwave is your friend. Instead of salting and draining your slaw, which might risk your pulled pork getting cold, or a late appearance to the picnic, Cook's Illustrated suggests zapping it in the microwave. That's right — but don't let this tip fool you, we're not cooking the slaw. Instead, we're turning several hours of salting and draining your raw cabbage into just minutes. Here's how it works: Microwaving raw shredded cabbage with sugar and salt in a large heatproof-safe bowl for three minutes will help release its water. After letting it cool for about five minutes, transfer it to a clean kitchen towel and ring out all the excess moisture. From there, you're free to mix in your flavorful dressing of choice, and any other mix-ins your recipe calls for. 

Life Savvy suggests chilling it once the dressing is fully coating the cabbage, so the flavors can marry together in harmony. Not only does this result in a flavorful coleslaw that packs a punch, but this method softens the texture of the cabbage ever-so-slightly, just enough to prevent the cabbage from being tough to chew or spoon onto your plate or sandwich.