Can You Really Use a Pillowcase to Dry Lettuce?

Putting Tips to The Test in The Kitchn

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Salad spinners are big, bulky, and sometimes quite noisy. For those who don't want to buy one or are only occasional salad eaters, is there another way to dry lettuce? We came across this tip for spinning lettuce dry in something we all have — a pillowcase — and just had to try it out for ourselves.

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The Original Tip

I first came across this idea of drying lettuce in a pillowcase when a former colleague of mine made this video:

By swinging the lettuce around in a pillowcase like a centrifuge, it mimics a salad spinner and flings the water off the lettuce, where it is absorbed by the pillowcase.

I never got to see her do it in person, and since I own and use my salad spinner quite often, never tried it myself. While vacationing with family on Cape Cod this summer, however, my mother-in-law mentioned not wanting to use her loud, old salad spinner because she didn't want to wake up my napping toddler. It then became the perfect opportunity to try this tip out!

The Testing Method

I started by washing a large head of romaine lettuce. This was beautiful organic lettuce from a nearby farm (the luxury of being on Cape Cod) that had never been washed. I tore the leaves up and submerged them in a few changes of cold water to make sure it was clean and to make sure the leaves were nice and wet.

I picked up the lettuce out of the water by handfuls, did a quick shake to fling some of the water off, and then placed it in a clean cotton pillowcase. Not surprisingly, the pillowcase got wet and actually started dripping a little, so we decided to do the actual swinging outside.

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For the swinging I recruited my husband since, frankly, it would be quite the miraculous feat if I were to try this tip out and photograph myself doing it! He held the pillowcase closed with one hand and started tentatively swinging the pillowcase of lettuce by his side. It seemed a bit awkward until he started to go faster, eliciting squawks of surprise from me as water droplets rained down on me and the camera.

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After a few spins, he decided to also try swinging it over his head to see if it was any easier or harder, and came to the conclusion that it was about the same. I still was showered with small water droplets, even though he stayed perfectly dry.

So how did the lettuce come out?

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The Results

When we opened up the pillowcase, we found a pile of perfectly dry lettuce! None of the leaves were bruised, and I'm quite confident that salad dressing would adhere quite well to these dry leaves.

Verdict: This is a mind-blowing tip!

Final Notes

Spinning lettuce dry in a pillowcase was quite a fun adventure, especially if you have kids around who need to work off a little energy. It's also great if you're on vacation and don't have a salad spinner around or don't want to pack one with you.

The only thing to keep in mind is that the water will need to go somewhere, so you should make sure you have an outdoor space to do the spinning!

(Image credits: Christine Gallary)