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Saturday, June 16, 2012

4 uses for your salad spinner: 3 normal, 1 only slightly crazy

One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is the salad spinner. I can't believe I went all those years without one. We got this spinner through a health awareness contest at my husband's work. I wasn't exactly jumping up and down, doing flips, when he brought it home.  I thought, "oh great, another thing to find a place for." But I have found it to be so very useful. Here are 4 terrific uses for your salad spinner.

spinning out excess water before drying herbs
If you dry herbs in summer, how do you make sure you've extracted as much water as possible from your just washed herbs before drying? We use the spinner to spin off the excess water.  I dry my herbs in a dehydrator, as it's rather damp in the Pacific Northwest, and this ensures they get dried off before loading on the trays. By spinning out the excess water, I shave close to 1/4 off the total drying time. That's electricity saved, which translates to money saved. If you air dry your herbs, this could still be beneficial. If you've found your air-dried herbs have a musty smell, it could be they didn't dry quickly or thoroughly enough. Spinning out excess water before hanging to dry would minimize time that the herbs were damp. If you dry your herbs in a microwave or conventional oven, again spinning out water first, would shave time and electricity off the drying process.

storing veggies to keep the slime away
Once you've washed your vegetables, how do you store them? Have you ever had produce get slimy, in the fridge, because it was wrapped in a plastic bag? The salad spinner is an excellent produce keeper. It's mostly airtight (but not all, and that's important), so produce does not dry out. But, the basket liner allows air flow all around the produce, so it doesn't develop the dreaded slime. And it keeps lettuce and other leafies super crisp, because it will hold the small amount of moisture from washed veggies, between the basket and the bowl of the spinner (providing a hydrating environment for your tender veggies).

washing greens and berries
How do you usually wash your veggies and berries? I like to wash mine right in the spinner. When I pick something from the garden, I use the spinner as my container for the veggies or berries. Then I fill with water, allow a little soak, swish with my hands and drain. I repeat until the water comes out clean.

spinning out water from hand-washed fine clothing
When you wash fine lingerie or pantyhose, do you remove excess water before hanging to dry? When I have a pair of pantyhose that I need later in the day, I can't count on them being totally dry in time, unless. . . . Yes, I have used my salad spinner to spin out excess water from pantyhose. Then hung to dry over the heat register and they were dry in under 20 minutes!

Totally off topic, but funny visual -- I once heard of a lady who's only decent pair of pantyhose needed washing before work. She washed them in her sink, then realized that they were too damp to put on. So she took the dripping pair out to her car. She unrolled her car's window an inch, slipped the pantyhose waist part through the opening, and rolled the window back up, securing the pantyhose in the crack. She drove 30 minutes to work, with her pantyhose flapping in the breeze. Halfway there, she noticed a state trooper following her for about a mile. He pulled her over for a tail light problem. When she went to open her window to talk with the trooper, the pantyhose fell to the ground. He picked them up and handed them to her, and said that while he needed to cite her for the tail light, what he was really interested in was what it was that was flying out her window. She gave him the whole story about being late to work, not having clean pantyhose, washing them, but having them too damp to put on, etc. This woman said the trooper laughed his head off. He said that was the absolute craziest story he had ever, ever heard.  

Moral of the story, better to spin dry, than wind dry. End of derail.

Best way to clean your spinner -- top rack of the dishwasher, but no heated dry. Second best -- fill 1/2 full with soapy water, and spin away. Empty this soapy water, rinse. Then spin again, this time with about 1/4 cup white vinegar. Empty the vinegar, then allow all parts to air dry.  The vinegar inhibits mold growth.

If you already own a salad spinner, why not give one of these uses a try? You've nothing to lose. Three normal uses, and one, only slightly crazy (or fully crazy, you be the judge).


  1. Haha, great story! These salad spinners seem pretty handy! :)

    In response to your comment on my blog, I've written about six ways to control slugs! Would any of them be useful to you? :)

    1. OOOH I'll check out your suggestions for slug control. They've devastated my garden this year. Thanks!

  2. Funny story! AND I have a spinner, AND it sits on the cupboard unused! NOW I have herbs in pots, I can do this! Thanks for the ideas....The pantyhose idea, well, Thank goodness I don't wear them! lol

    1. Hi! What herbs are you growing this year? I've just started drying herbs for the season. My oregano and sage were looking like they needed a haircut. If your herbs are on your site I'll come check them out. Thanks for the comment.


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