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When I make potato salad, macaroni salad, tuna salad, and sometimes ham salad, it seems like there's always a puddle of excess liquid at the bottom of the storage container the next day.

Does anyone know what is causing this or how to prevent it from happening?

I always cook the pasta in water with oil to limit absorption, and I always try to drain it thoroughly. I also always use regular mayonnaise or salad dressing instead of the light ones which have more water in them. A day later, I am always draining off the excess liquid and remixing with mayonnaise all over again.

The supermarket salads never seem to have this problem: what are they doing differently? Can anyone help???

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1) never put oil in the water when you cook pasta, it just makes it cook unevenly. 2) Are you tasting the salad with the same spoon/eating it out of the container? Saliva will cause the mayo to break down, leaving you with a puddle. –  mikeTheLiar Jan 12 '13 at 22:57
    
Consider posting recipes, ingredients, procedure. Without, it's just guesswork. –  Thomas Jan 12 '13 at 23:09
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Actually, oil on the pasta water has almost no affect at all. It certainly cannot affect the cooking, as it essentially floats on top of the water, whereas the pasta is under it, and in the small amount of time pasta cooks, you aren't going to get much of an oil water emulsion, even from the motion of rapidly boiling water. –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 13 '13 at 1:58
    
is it all water or oily water? maybe mayo is separating. Maybe salt in dressing is drawing out moisture: do you cook pot or pasta with salt? –  Pat Sommer Jan 14 '13 at 17:36
    
Thanks for responding. I was always taught to put oil in the water to keep the pasta from sticking or clumping together. I never even gave any thought to saliva issues. When the macaroni salad sits overnight in the fridge, the next day there is a puddle of moisture on the bottom of the container. It isn't oily, and I think it's too much moisture to be condensation. I do use salt in the salad (not much) after the pasta is cooked and mixed. The mayo is always the regular kind - not lite. I'm still at a loss as to why. –  user15206 Jan 25 '13 at 20:16
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2 Answers

Have you tried steaming pasta, after boiling it in the water?

I highly recommend you let pasta stay in the oven with very low heat, for 20 minutes, then you will see that there is no more liquid.

Also it gives the macaroni a spongy condition which makes it able to keep the liquid in it.

I believe if you steamed the cook before mixing with mayonnaise,you will get a good result.

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...no, please... steaming boiled pasta... I find it a practical workaround but, man, it's not a #1 receipt in the chef cookbook... –  Daniele B Jan 21 '13 at 10:16
    
Wow. I never would consider steaming boiled pasta. I can't imagine how it would even come out. My pasta is basically elbow macaroni that you buy in your local supermarket. I'm still stumped as to where all the liquid is coming from. –  user15206 Jan 25 '13 at 20:25
    
Putting it in the oven isn't steaming. –  Jefromi Aug 6 '13 at 19:45
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I'm not sure there is a real solution to your issue. Once pasta is cooked and mixed you should eat it. If it is a 'hot' pasta receipt (e.g. "spaghetti al pomodoro") and then you put in the fridge and open it the next day, you'll have the same problem, with the difference that you might warm it again thus making the excess of water evaporate.

Any time you put smething in the fridge, you'll have the feeling it 'produces some water' (you can see the same with salad: put it in a plastig bag, then in the fridge. After a day it will be a bit moisty).

The only turnarounds I see are:

  1. Eat it the same day you prepare it! (strngly suggested)
  2. put in the fridge the cooked pasta SEPARATED from the sausage ingredients, and mix them 5 minutes before you are going to eat them.
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All of the salads I mentioned are cold and should be eaten cold. After I prepare and mix the salads, they're not hot or even warm. They're usually at room temperature. Then I put them in the fridge to chill due to the mayo. I do understand the evaporation issue. However, it seems like there is always too much liquid or moisture in the container the next day to be condensation. You can actually pour it out. Any thoughts? –  user15206 Jan 25 '13 at 20:22
    
A couple of thoughts: 1. I understand might be some practical issue, but if you cook it 5 hours before and let it out of the fridge, you'll have a cold salad with less moisture 2. did you try cooling the pasta immediately with cold water when you take it out from the pot (when it's cooked of course)? It should help. In any case, I'll ask to my grandma and let you know the response.. stay tuned ! :-) –  Daniele B Jan 28 '13 at 8:05
    
Thanks to everyone for their comments and ideas. I'm still looking for the solution to this problem. –  user15206 Feb 20 '13 at 21:39
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