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Learn How to Use a Salad Spinner and You Will Eat More Leafy Greens
I’ve owned two salad spinners in my life…
The first one my wife and I tossed out because we never used it.
Then I watched a friend use theirs to clean two heads of lettuce at once with minimal effort and maximum effectiveness.
Then it hit me it…
We never used our salad spinner because we never knew how to use our salad spinner.
Now we have a second spinner. And I could never go back to a life without it.
You know what they say: Spin salad to win salad.
And by “they” I mean “I” say that.
It makes cleaning leafy greens and herbs so simple. Your leafy green consumption will increase after getting one.
A salad spinner will save you tons of time and hassle. But, only if you know how to use it correctly.
So, keep reading for step-by-step instructions for how to clean your greens with a salad spinner.
What is a Salad Spinner?
A salad spinner is an ingenious kitchen gadget that was invented by someone who hates washing greens by hands as much as I do. Or so I’d like to think.
It’s generally composed of the following pieces:
Strainer or colander-like basket that fits inside the bowl
Mechanism to spin the basket – this is typically a part of the lid
Brake to stop the spinning basket
The idea is that you place greens inside the basket. You wash the greens while they’re in the basket. Then you can easily dry them by using the spinning mechanism.
Since the basket has holes in it, the water will fly off of the greens while spinning and fall into the bowl. Then you can dump the bowl.
Why Should I Use a Salad Spinner?
Salad spinners are made for, you guessed it: salads. So, these are perfect for cleaning leafy greens and herbs.
Have you ever bit into your salad and got a mouthful of gritty, sandy greens? Or started peeling off outer layers of lettuce only to find deposits of dirt at the base of each layer?
Sure, you can wash these greens by hand. But you can save time, effort, and be more effective by using a salad spinner.
Here are some pros and cons of using a salad spinner versus hand washing greens:
Crispier and fresher tasting greens
Less hands-on time washing greens
You will eat more healthy leafy vegetables because they will be easier to clean
Can clean and prep large bunches of greens for meal prep
Large kitchen tool that you need to store
Cost of a high quality salad spinner is $20-$30
Types of Salad Spinners
All the best salad spinners have the same primary components of a bowl, strainer basket, lid, spinning mechanism, and brake. The primary difference between salad spinners lies in their spinning mechanism.
Here are a few of the different types of salad spinners that you can purchase:
Pump button – A button on top of the lid that you pump to spin.
Crank – A crank on the side of the machine like a pasta maker.
Cord – A lawn-mower like cord is used to spin the basket.
Regardless of the mechanism, the function and purpose of all salad spinners is the same. To easily wash and dry leafy greens.
How to Use a Salad Spinner
If you’re just using a salad spinner to rinse greens then spin dry, you’re missing out. The key is to let the greens soak so the dirt can fall to the bottom of the bowl.
Follow these steps for using a salad spinner and you will end up with perfectly clean, crispy and fresh greens every time.
Step 1. Prep Your Greens
Chop up your lettuce or greens you want to clean. Even if you aren’t going to use them all right away, I highly suggest cleaning a big batch (whole bunches and/or heads).
Once you’re done with the steps below, you’ll place what you’re going to use now in your salad bowl. Then put the rest in a bag or container and store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. You just made yourself a salad mix that will last a few days.
Step 2. Place Greens in Spinner
Place your prepped greens in the basket of your salad spinner.
Step 3. Fill Bowl With Water So Greens Are Submerged
The key here is to soak, not rinse. Fill up your spinner bowl with cold water so that the greens are fully covered. It’s okay if the greens float a bit. Just push all the greens underwater a few times and move around for a few seconds to rinse off any dirt on greens that sit above the water.
Tip: Add in a few ice cubes so the water is extra cold. This will help keep your greens extra crispy.
Step 4. Soak for 5 Minutes
Be patient here. Letting the greens sit in the water for 5 or so minutes lets the dirt fall to the bottom of the bowl. This is the perfect time to prep one of these salad dressings.
Step 5: Empty Bowl and Spin
The moment you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to spin!
Pick up the basket from the bowl. Dump out the dirty water. And place the basket back inside the bowl.
Place the lid on top and spin your heart out.
Once you’ve given it a few good cranks, press the brake on your spinner if there is one. Remove the basket and dump out the dirty water on the bowl. Repeat this process 1 or 2 more times until there isn’t much left water in the bowl after spinning.
Step 6: Use and Store Greens
Use your newly cleaned greens like in one of these salads. Store any greens you’re not using in bag or container and store in your refrigerator. These greens will keep for 2-3 days depending on how fresh they were to begin with.
Watch: How to Use a Salad Spinner
Salad Spinner Tips
The Best Salad Spinner to Buy
Now that you know how to use a salad, you actually need to own one.
I use this Zyliss Easy Spin Salad spinner. It is the one in the pictures and video in this post. I love it.
It’s super easy to use – the cord mechanism is pretty fun too. It’s large enough so you can clean a big batch of greens at once, the lid comes apart so you can clean it, and it gets greens nice and dry. The thing just works.
You can buy it on Amazon here.
Salad Spinner Buying Considerations
The technology used in salad spinners is the same as a merry-go-round. So, it’s not new. By now, there are multiple manufacturers who have the basic spinning mechanism down pretty well. So, consider the following things when purchasing a salad spinner:
Capacity – More capacity means easier meal prep and make ahead salad mixes. But, it also means it will take up more room in your kitchen. So, weigh these considerations based on your situation. For me, bigger is better, so I can prep a few days of greens at once.
Cleanup – Since there is a mechanism within the spinner, there could be some cleaning complications to work around its parts. Spinners with lids that come apart are easier to clean.
Quality – A good spinner will have a tight-fitting lid, a solid base bowl, a spinning mechanism that quickly spins greens, and a brake that stops the spinning.
Price – Price is always a consideration. Expect to pay $25-$30 for one of the best salad spinners.
Ease of Use – Using the spinning mechanism should be simple. Unless you want your spinner to double as fitness equipment.
Thinking Outside the Salad: Other Uses for Salad Spinners
Salad spinners provide the most value by easily washing hard to clean leafy greens. But, there are plenty of other uses if you think outside the box.
Just think about anything that you may need to remove liquid from that can fit in the basket. What’s nifty is that the basket can double as a colander or strainer if you don’t already have one.
Here are a few ideas:
Straining seeds and juice from canned tomatoes
Salting and removing water from eggplant
Cleaning non-leafy vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower
Soaking dried beets
Removing moisture from potatoes for hash browns or french fries
Ready to Go for a Spin?
If you don’t have a salad spinner yet, I recommend checking out this Zyliss one. It is the one I used throughout this post. I can’t live without it.
Just follow these steps and you will have crisp and amazing tasting greens every time. No more standing over the sink washing greens. And no more soggy salads.
The best part? Cleaning a whole batch of greens is basically no additional effort compared to just cleaning a small salad’s worth of green.
This is awesome because a day or two later you can grab your already cleaned greens from the refrigerator and have an instant salad. Cleaning greens this way will make you eat way more healthy greens and salads.
To recap: You’ll get more health benefits, time, and delicious salads. So, it’s time to go for a spin!