The $30 Salad Spinner I Bought After Dating a Chef
If you had told me a decade ago that a bulky plastic salad spinner would be one of my must-have tools, I would have laughed — guffawed, even. You see, my philosophy when it comes to kitchen tools (and, really, everything except maybe books) is less is more. Every item in my kitchen must earn its place; otherwise it gets tossed out, recycled, or given away.
If I’m going to keep something, it has to be functional — something that does a task better, faster, easier than anything else. The things I keep are often multitaskers — bowls that can be used for storage and as serving pieces, for example. And, because I live in Brooklyn and cabinet space is limited, it’s a plus if these things are also aesthetically pleasing enough to be on display.
So a salad spinner — in my mind a unitasker that took up too much space and was kind of an eyesore — was not on my short list. Then I dated (and lived with) a chef who swore by this OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner. I, too, became a believer, and not just for washing and drying salad greens. (For what it’s worth, this exact salad spinner is a favorite among Kitchn editors and it made the official list of Kitchn Essentials for 2020.)
Okay, but let’s talk about washing and drying salad greens. First and foremost, a salad spinner is the fastest, most efficient way to get the job done. That is the task it was designed for, and I find that two washes and a quick spin yield perfectly clean, perfectly dry greens. This OXO salad spinner in particular is very, very effective and very, very easy to use (and also sort of fun?). I was a tried-and-true sink washer, followed by the dish-towel dry and once I used this salad spinner, I never, ever looked back.
My favorite way to use the spinner for greens is to wash my arugula, kale, romaine (whatever) right when I get home from the supermarket or farmers market and then store it all in the spinner until I’m ready to make my salad. I use the basket in the spinner to rinse the greens, plop the thing in the spinner, give it a whirl, dump out the excess water, and store. This little trick has the bonus of keeping salad greens fresh and crisp longer than if you just put them in the refrigerator right away.
As great as all this is, if all my salad spinner was good for was salad stuff, I might be on the fence. But I have found it useful for myriad other things, which makes it a keeper in my book. Here are a few other ways to put the kitchen essential to use.
- Rinse and drain beans.
- Wash and dry herbs.
- Wash berries.
- Drain pasta (in a pinch).
- Proof bread.
- Use as a cake cover.
Buy: OXO Good Grips Salad Spinner, $29.95
Do you have a salad spinner that you can’t live without? Share with us in the comments!