Gurkensalat (creamy German cucumber salad)

This is a simple salad that my mother used to make when cucumbers were plentiful.  I’m sure the recipe came from her mother who was of German descent.  My mother often remarked that her mother used sour cream in cooking and salad making and almost never used mayonnaise.  My mother liked sour cream so much that she would eat it right out of the container.  And, I confess, I do too.

My mother never had the benefit of English cucumbers which are now very popular.  They are sweeter.  Their seeds are much smaller.  And they are perfect for this little salad.

This is a salad that you can make ahead.  In fact, it must be made ahead.  But the timing is not strict.  This is a relaxing kind of summer salad.

Gurkensalat is a wonderful and different take on cucumbers.  One that will be a hit at a large picnic pot luck or a quiet summer supper on the porch.

Do seek out English cucumbers as they are delicate and delicious.


These beautiful English cucumbers were purchased at Muth Organic Farm at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.



1 large English cucumber
1 tablespoon of fresh dill or 1/2 tablespoon of dried dill
4 oz. sour cream


1. Peel the cucumber.
2. Slice very thin.
3. Place the cucumber slices in a colander.  Place the colander in a bowl.  Lightly salt the cucumbers.

4. Allow the salted cucumbers to drain for 30 minutes (no more than an hour).
5. Take the cucumbers out of the colander.  Discard the liquid.  Pat the cucumbers dry. (slightly)

6.  Add the dill and the sour cream.  Stir together.  IMG_8559
7.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.  This salad can be served as soon as it is mixed but it also does well to rest in the refrigerator.
8.  Garnish with fresh or dried dill.

Funny story.  I love fresh dill.  The way it tastes.  The way it smells.  Every year I buy a dill plant for my little back deck herb garden.  And every year my dill dies and gets sucked back into the earth.  And every year I feel like a failure.  (you have to know that my late father had an enormous green thumb and his dill would grow and grow and grow until you couldn’t use any more).  So recently I spoke with Rick Hymer (a farmer at our local Collingswood Farmers’ Market).  He sells herbs in pots, but no dill.  Why?  He explained that dill is a tall plant.  When it is planted in pots, as it would need to be to sold at the market, it grows tall.  And then it dies.  Not to disappoint me, but because it is done growing.  He went on to explain, with a smile, that the best way to grow dill is from seed.  He advised the $1.29 for a packet of seeds was a better investment than the plant.  So that’s why my father’s dill always grew better than mine.  Thanks, Rick Hymer, that makes me feel better!iu

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