Cucumber salad with red onions in a white bowl

Cucumber And Onion Salad; A Perfect Indian Summer Side Dish

A delicious, refreshing cucumber and onion salad during some of the year’s warmest months? Yes, please! While the summer of 2022 has officially hit the history books, an Indian summer or second summer brings us some of the most beautiful and sometimes the hottest weather of the year. Perfect for a chilled, yet spicy salad. What exactly is Indian summer? Let’s find out:

Indian summer facts

Although you most likely hear the term Indian summer or second summer to describe a warm spell during the autumn months, according to, it traditionally refers to more specific criteria:

  • In addition to the warmer temps, the Indian summer atmosphere is hazy or smoky with no wind and clear and chilly nights.
  • To be an Indian summer, the warm temperatures must follow a cold spell or a hard frost before the first snowfall.
  • The hazy atmosphere and a significant swing in temperature between day and night result from a “moving, cool, shallow polar air mass converting into a deep, warm, stagnant high-pressure system.”
  • The above conditions must occur between November 11 – 20. (Although other notable publications, aka Britannica, report that an Indian summer can take place any time between late October and November.)
  • Second summers don’t occur every year, but there have been years when there have been multiple Indian summers. 


Its origins remain unknown; the first record of Indian summer was in 1778 in a book, Letters From an American Farmer, by J. H. St. John de Crèvecoeur, a French-American soldier turned farmer. Even though this weather phenomenon typically occurs in the central and eastern United States, Indian summers are also known to occur in Europe, where it is called Old Wives’ summer or All-hallown (yes, that’s how they spell it) summer. Other names include St. Martin’s summer, St. Luke’s summer, and Allhallow summer.

Do you know what else this time of year entails, besides Halloween trick-or-treating and prepping for the year-end holidays? It means tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.  Sometimes, far too many; how can we possibly use them all?

Twisted Cucumber Salad Recipe

Our Twisted Cucumber and Onion Salad recipe is an excellent way to use up any extra crops. We have to say, there’s just nothing like a cold salad for lunch during warmer days, and this one fits the bill. While the twist of TPJ Pepper Jelly adds some heat, it’s not enough to get you sweating unless you opt to use our new Ghost Pepper Jelly. That’s a whole other topic.


  • Medium mixing bowl 
  • Measuring cups
  • Fork
  • Knife
  • Bowl cover or plastic wrap

CUCUMBER & ONION SALAD INGREDIENTS: Texas Pepper Jelly Pineapple Habanero jelly jar

  • One sliced cucumber (score cucumber with a fork before slicing)
  • One large purple or yellow onion, sliced
  • One green pepper, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Texas Pineapple Habanero Pepper Jelly (although you can use your favorite TPJ Pepper Jelly, or experiment with a new flavor)
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup French or Thousand Island salad dressing
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Dill for garnish (optional)


  • Mix everything – except the scored and sliced cucumbers – together in a medium bowl, cover, and let it ‘set’ for about 2 hours; it will get juicy. Add the cucumber just before serving.

Without the cucumbers, this salad will keep in the refrigerator for several days. Once you add the cucumbers, though, it must be served right away.

This cold salad is refreshing, nutritious, and a bit “different.” It’s perfect for lunch on a hot Indian summer or a second summer day.

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