Salad spinners can save you money by allowing you to buy loose greens, rather
than pre-cut, pre-bagged greens. Experts say the bagging process causes greens
to lose flavor and nutrients. With proper care, loose salad greens will stay
fresh longer than bagged salad.
There are two primary types of salad spinners: pump or pull-cord, both manual.
Pump styles are either similar to a plunger or operated with a lever, but
both use the same principle, operating a spinning mechanism that builds momentum
and centrifugal force to literally spin the water off salad lettuce, berries
or other vegetables. Pull-cord styles tend to spin faster and therefore dry
greens better, although they're not as durable: Owners repeatedly complain
that pull cords will break over time.
Here's what the experts have to say about choosing a salad spinner:
don't need a salad spinner. Although they are handy, you don't need
a salad spinner. MarthaStewart.com recommends rinsing greens, rolling them
gently in a kitchen towel and spinning them around outdoors, holding both
ends of the towel in one hand. You can also use a mesh laundry bag designed
- You can use a spinner for more
than just salad. The editors of Cook's Illustrated recommend rinsing
fresh berries in a solution of one part white vinegar to three parts
water, then spinning the berries in a paper-towel-lined salad spinner.
Many salad spinners can do double duty as colanders or serving bowls.
- Don't overstuff
your spinner. It's best to wash lettuce in batches of 4 to 5 cups,
rather than filling your spinner to capacity. A full spinner is heavier,
harder to spin and less effective at drying greens than one that's half
greens evenly in your spinner. More produce in one side of the unit
can throw your salad spinner off balance and make it less effective at
- Spin greens gently. Although rotating
the basket at a high rate of speed may dry greens faster, bruised
greens deteriorate more quickly than unblemished leaves.
- Use a spinner to distribute
dressing. Place freshly washed and dried greens in a clean spinner,
add dressing and spin lightly. The centrifugal force helps ensure an even
coating of dressing.
- Store greens the right way. If
you're going to store greens in a salad spinner, set them in the
refrigerator and gently cover them with a damp paper towel. The humidity
will help them stay crisp.