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Salad Spinners

Tuesday, 10 February 2009 | Tags: ,

Washing and drying your lettuce well keeps it fresher longer. For an easy way to prep your greens, use a salad spinner. We check out some spinners on the market to see if any stand out from the rest.

The Basics

  • Salad spinners come in a variety of sizes and designs, though all of them work on the same principle of using centrifugal force to separate the water from the lettuce.

  • A colander-type basket holds the lettuce inside a larger solid container and, as it spins, the water is forced outward, off the lettuce, and collected in the container outside the colander.

  • Basic spinner styles include:

    • Hand-crank, with the spinning mechanism in the lid, where you turn the knob on top of the lid clockwise to create the outward spinning force.

    • Pump-action spinners incorporate a cylinder that pops up from the lid, which you press down repeatedly to generate the spinning motion. Many pump-action spinners also have a brake button on the lid.

    • Cord-action spinners use pull cords to generate the same spinning motion.

  • Choose one with a clear lid or bowl so you can easily see your progress without having to stop and open the lid.

  • Make sure the spinner has a non-slip base so that it won’t slide around as you crank it.

  • Spinners with stainless steel or stylish bowls can double as a salad bowl on the table.

  • If you like to eat berries and use herbs in your cooking, look for a salad spinner that comes with a smaller accessory bowl for smaller, more delicate jobs.

Other Considerations

  • If you have the space in your fridge, the spinner can also make a great crisper where you can store clean, ready-to-eat lettuce.

  • No spinner? Chef Jamie Oliver recommends placing your washed lettuce in a tea towel, wrapping it well, and shaking it (lasso-style) to get rid of excess water. (Remember to go outside to do this, or even stand in the shower!)

Be Aware

  • Don’t overstuff the spinner. The more lettuce you have in the bowl, the harder it will be to spin, and the less effective it will be in removing water. If you’re making a big salad, you may have to spin more than one batch of lettuce.

TEST CRITERIA

We recruited some cooking school students to help us test three salad spinners on iceberg and romaine lettuce.

Spinning Test

  • All three salad spinners were virtually equal when it came to doing the job.

  • The design of each spinner was quite different, however.
    • The Zyliss pull-cord worked well, but our testers wondered if the cord made it prone to breaking down.

    • The hand-crank Progressive International model worked well, but our testers felt that it could strain your wrist.

    • Our testers all preferred the OXO for its easy-to-perform, pump-action design, and ease-of-use.

OUR TOP PICK

All three of our test products worked well, but we all liked the OXO the best because it was the easiest, and it had a brake button, which helps you avoid opening the lid too early and spraying lettuce everywhere.

 

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