Here's Why Every Home Cook Should Own a Salad Spinner
While we aren't usually fans of tools that do only one task, the salad spinner is the exception: Sure, it does just one thing, but it does it exceptionally well. And what is that one thing? Simply put, a salad spinner thoroughly washes and dries your salad ingredients, so it can be used to prep any type of leafy green, salad leaves, or herb. Ahead, we're explaining exactly how a salad spinner works, how home cooks can use it, and our food editors' number one pick.
What Is a Salad Spinner?
The salad spinner is a simple but clever contraption used to wash and dry fresh greens. The inner basket allows water to drain off of its contents; the outer bowl catches the water and supports the basket; and the lid contains a handle that, when spun, employs centrifugal force to gently but powerfully fling the water off the greens. It may seem silly to send your lettuce on a carousel ride, but there's a method to the madness.
How Is It Used?
Fresh lettuce, herbs, and other leaves that grow close to the ground can end up with dirt, sand, bugs, and other kinds of grit nestled into their folds. Of course, the greens must be washed before you can eat them—after all, nobody wants that kind of unpleasant surprise in their salad. The leaves need to be completely dry before you toss them into a salad; if they're not, the dressing won't cling to the leaves and you'll end up with a sad, soggy mess on your plate.
The tricky part is that lettuces and herbs are very delicate and can easily get bruised and smashed when handled. The salad spinner is specially designed to give the white-glove treatment to your produce. First, place the salad in the basket that's nestled in the bowl, and then fill the bowl with water. By soaking the greens in water, the grit can settle to the bottom of the bowl without any rubbing or jostling from the cook. After the contents rinse clean, you can put the lid of the bowl and spin, spin, spin until no more water comes off of the leaves—no towel-drying necessary. The end result is clean, perky greens shine in your favorite salad.
Why We Love It
For anyone who makes salad at home, a salad spinner is a must-have. Even though it does take up some cabinet space, there is simply no other method of washing and drying greens that's as effective or as efficient. The salad spinner is as equally powerful for robust greens like kale, collards, chard, and escarole as it is tender lettuces like Boston (also known as Bibb or butter lettuce), and romaine; and all kinds of herbs including basil, dill, parsley, and cilantro.
Our Favorite Salad Spinner
We love the OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner ($24.99, bedbathandbeyond.com) for its easy-to-use plunger and its very effective push-button brake. The bowl is also attractive enough to place on the dinner table as a salad bowl.