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Mar 14, 2006 09:42 AM

Alternatives to Salad Spinners?

  • d

I'm joining a CSA this summer so I'll be eating--and washing--lots of salad greens. Right now I use the blot with paper towlels approach, but I think I have to kick it up a notch. I'd prefer not to buy a salad spinner as my kitchen is already cluttered up with gadgets. Anything else that folks have used successfully? I reamember hearing about an absorbent bag that you sping over your head but I can't seem to find that online--and does it work?

If I do decide to buy a spinner seems that Oxo's is the favorite--anyone have a different suggestion?

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  1. "I remember hearing about an absorbent bag that you spin over your head but I can't seem to find that online--and does it work?"

    Is this what you're looking for?


    12 Replies
    1. re: Deenso

      I put off getting a salad spinner for 5 years for the same reason - didn't want to clutter. I tried different methods (though, not this specific bag) and nothing really worked well. The benefit of the spinner is that you get a LOT more centrifical force than you could ever get by simply spinning in a bag overhead. You can get those spinners moving as fast the spin cycle in a washing machine... That translates into a lettuce that is a LOT drier than you could ever do by hand. So, I broke down, bought a spinner and love it to death. I stack other bowls inside to maximize space.

      And for your purpose, since you are joining a CSA... I'd doubly recommend it. I use it for all the greens I get at farmers markets every saturday. If you have a lot of greens, it makes pretty quick work of it all.

      Anyhow, my two cents...

      1. re: adamclyde

        oh... and the LA Times had an article last week on Oxo products. they talked about their latest version of the salad spinner, which, apparently, they were making so it could double as a salad bowl... so maybe you could justify the extra gadget since it can serve dual purposes??? :)

        The picture below is from the LA Times...



        1. re: adamclyde

          Actually, that looks like it would solve the big problem I have with oxo, the hard plastic bowl cracks.

          1. re: wally

            Yeah, my OXO has a hole in it as well. It is still usable for spinning, but for rinsing, I have to plug the hole with my finger. Only complaint I have.

            This new one looks intriguing.

            Once you have a spinner, it is hard to do without. We got so fed up with trying to make salad during our visits to my Mom's house that we finally bought her a spinner for Christmas. Much better, especially when cooking for a crowd. No wet towels or wasted paper.

          2. re: adamclyde

            That was going to be my suggestion too, as I saw the article in the LA Times and decided it was time to trade in my old Oxo salad spinner for the new one with the stainless steel bowl, because both my husband/lettuce washer and I like the idea of a multitasker. I love my plastic Oxo but we eat lots of salads.

            I haven't seen the new stainless one available for sale yet. Has anyone else?

            1. re: farmersdaughter

              I think the article said they were going to show it at some home goods tradeshow... so it's likely not out quite yet. don't know for sure though...

            2. re: adamclyde

              If you bake, the bowl works well for rising yeasted doughs, too. Most mixing bowls are too small for large batches of yeasted dough. Plus, when storing, you can put extra stuff inside the bowl - say, smaller bowls not often in use.

            3. re: adamclyde

              speaking of the washing machine...

              if you're cleaning lots of greens, especially hardier ones (collards, mustard, turnip, etc), the washing machine is exactly what we use. rinse cycle, agitator off, no soap. fill it, let 'em soak a bit, then spin.

              1. re: mark

                OMG! I would have *never* thought of doing that! Does it work for leeks? I guess it is too rough for spinach.

                1. re: mark

                  Yeah, when I was growing up, my mom worked at a resteraunt that tried that. They bought a used washing machine and loaded it up full of lettuce - the salads tasted like laundry soap! If you do use a washing machine either use a new one that is only used for this, or run it through lots of hot water rinses first to remove any residues.

                  1. re: JIRodriguez

                    LoL - I *knew* it sounded like a novel approach. Not unreasonable, just unusual. I've seen people mix large amounts of salad in plastic garbage bags too. Whatever.

                2. re: adamclyde

                  Another vote for the spinner here. You can use it to dry off delicate herbs as wella s other veggies. A great tool that is worth its somewhat awkward storage needs.

              2. Have an Oxo and wouldn't be without it. It's the best.

                1. many people love the oxo spinner. but I have to say the thick lid (it has a bump on the underside) poses storage issues for me. I prefer the Zyliss. it has a flat lid (and the newer models don't have the rip cord issue the older ones do).

                  I would invest the $20 in a spinner, especially with CSA lettuce. you can soak the lettuce and the spinner is gentle, and really dries the lettuce.


                  1. Here's what I do, but I'm not going to pretend that it's any easier or more effective than a salad spinner.

                    Drain washed lettuce in a collander. Toss until most of the water is gone. Put lettuce, along with a few sheets of paper towels, in a large bowl. Cover with another large bowl to form a big sphere. Holding the bowls tightly together, shake. Take the paper towels out, squeeze dry, and repeat until your salad's dry.

                    Over the course of several years, you might waste enough paper towels to have justified the purchase of a salad spinner to begin with. Or you could use cloth towels. I don't eat enough salad to mind doing things this way.

                    1. I know this will cause some uproar, but this method will keep your greens (esp. hardy ones) fresh for WEEKS!!!
                      Soak in ice cold water, in a big sink (laundry if possible) Let the greens dry thoroughly on towels (like an old bath towel), for a few hours. Then wrap tightly in a single layer in another clean, dry towel (old tea towels work well) and place in a plastic bag. This works especially well with romaine lettuce. It works less well the more delicate your greens, but it still works.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jill

                        I do pretty much the same thing and make salad to last the week. I do use my old reliable Copco salad spinner to wash and drain the lettuces. It is bulky but I have room in my pantry for it. Long long ago I had a collapsable French wire mesh drying basket. It folded up flat but could be a bit messy. You were supposed to put the washed greens in the basket and whirl it around over your head. It was best to do that outside.

                        1. re: jill

                          I saw this tip in an on-line cooking video somewhere - how the "crisp" lettuce. She rolled up the second towel with the lettuce in it so it didn't take up so much room.