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I understand from Rabbi Ribbiat's 39 Melachos book that salting many kinds of vegetables including lettuce on Shabbos is a violation of a rabbinic ordinance related to curing/tanning/m'abaid. I further understand from that work that said ordinance was instituted when few alternatives existed for preserving food.

It is in the section on m'abaid (basically that entire section). There he explains that there is a principle of ayn m'abaid b'ochlin but that, since salting resembled curing, a fence was made. I am asking if any poskim consider the fact that since there is a possibility that the reason for this fence is no longer applicable there may be room to be lenient.

I would like to know if there are any poskim since the advent of ubiquitous refrigeration who have offered lenient rulings in terms of salting vegetables nowadays.

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Rabbi Sh'lomo Zalman Auerbach is cited in Sh'miras Shabas K'hilchasah (1979 edition, chapter 11 footnote 6) as saying that cut tomatoes are not included in the category of "foods commonly preserved by salting" nowadays [meaning: in his days] and therefore can be salted (for use the same day). RSZA adds, SSK says, that he would say the same about radishes, since they're not preserved by salting nowadays either, but, since radishes are mentioned by name in the Talmud as subject to this prohibition, the prohibition stands.

The clear implication — to me — is that according to RSZA (1) the "foods commonly preserved by salting" category is subject to change at any time and (2) anything not in that category and also not mentioned in the Talmud as subject to this prohibition can be salted. You should definitely consult with your own rabbi, though, before relying on RSZA and for a decision on what should be considered "foods commonly preserved by salting".

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