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the salad spinner: kitchen essential or waste of space?

Just wondering what your opinions are...
Do you love them or hate them?
And if you're a fan, do they do anything else to earn their place in your kitchen besides drying lettuce?

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  1. They do take up a heck of a lot of space, but I use mine nearly every day and really find it to be the best way to get leaves washed and (nearly) dried. I also use it for washing greens and herbs.

    1. Ran out of space in my small apartment kitchen and bought one of these collapsible salad spinners:

      https://www.google.com/search?q=colla...

      Yes, it takes 30 seconds to set it up, and some reviews said the string frays rather soon than it ought to. So I bought mine at Bed, Bath, and Beyond where I could return it if I had a problem with it. So far, though, maybe two years later, so good. And it did free up considerable space.

      1. Absolutely necessary if you want to make a decent salad. We have the oxo spinner. Use it nearly every day. How else do you get the greens dry? Watery greens means watery dressing. But if you don't eat salads regularly, no need for one.

        1. I had one of the collapsible ones but the string did fray and break so I just bought an OXO on Amazon. You just push the button. I'll find a place for it as my DH eats alot of salads.

          1. i use mine all the time. i buy organic lettuce and kale from the farmers markets and it's bug city. it dries the leaves perfectly too.

            1. A few years ago I said I would not have a plastic anything in my kitchen. I've since changed my mind. For years I used a collapsible wire salad spinner that was maybe 50 years old.
              http://feedingfourfood.blogspot.com/2...
              When it broke I tried a few home made impromptu methods of drying green leafy vegetables, including a colander in a deep bowl that worked quite well, but finally gave in and bought the ubiquitous OXO spinner. While it doesn't really Dry the greens it does a fair job of removing most of the water with small effort. A clean tea towel or paper towel does the rest...

              1. Neither essential nor a waste of space. I use mine regularly but could certainly get by without it.

                Mine is a cheap POS with a crank on top. Probably came from the dollar store.

                1. It just gives the best results. Yeah it takes a lot of space (and I have a huge one). If you don't eat salad at least 3-4 times a week I wouldn't get one that's too large, I think oxo makes a smaller model.

                  1. I use one all the time for fruit, vegetables, cold pasta that needs good draining and as part of my blanch, shock, dry routine for stir fry and roasting.

                    These spinners come in a few diff sizes, brands and colors now but if you buy a good deal of produce, then you should find the spinner an essential. Having one for a while made me think of additional purposes for it. I paid $25.00 at the time for this one:

                    http://www.amazon.com/OXO-1045421-Sof...

                    1. The Khantessa makes virtually all the salads at Khan's Khastle, and she swears by her salad spinner. Who am I to demur?

                      1. I've lived without a spinner for many years, and with little storage space to spare, never intended to get one, but the few lettuces I planted this year have been so abundant that I've had to change my plans and make room. After reading a lot here and elsewhere about spinners, I chose this one, the large size so it actually drys a lot, not just a few outer leaves. I roll them up in dry paper towels afterward (it dries them very well) and they stay fresh a long time in a low humidity crisper drawer.

                        http://www.amazon.com/Guzzini-Latina-...

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: mcf

                          it's amazing how much longer greens last when you store them in paper towels. I slip mine into a ziploc -- left open -- just to keep it from unrolling and scattering all over.

                          1. re: sunshine842

                            I used to use a bag, but now I roll up the paper egg roll style and they stay in.

                            1. re: mcf

                              I have a teenager in the house...it needs to be contained.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                Gotcha.

                                Now if you could only do that with the contents of their rooms.

                                1. re: mcf

                                  ugh. If only!

                            2. re: sunshine842

                              I use an Oxo spinner and then roll up the lettuce leaves in paper towles and then into the plastic bag the Sunday paper comes in. I suppose in a dry climate the Sunday paper is not in a plastic bag.

                              1. re: John E.

                                having a dog dictates a different use for the paper bag (which is not designed for food use, so I'll pass)

                          2. Not like I'd DIE without a salad spinner, but I definitely make room for one in my kitchen.

                            VIVIDLY remember Julia Child doing her own version of a SS on PBS... back in the B&W days. She had messa greens in one of those collapsible wire basket and was dunking in sink full of water. She was shaking water off when she said something about it taking too long, I think?? Then she literally swung it around over her head!! You could SEE the water dripping down TV camera lens! Hysterical!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: kseiverd

                              I saw Ina Garten put greens in a clean kitchen towel and whip it around over her head like a sling! I loved the idea.

                              I absolutely HATE my salad spinner. It takes up a lot of space and is a pain to clean. The only thing it is good for is a large container for storing clean greens, but even then takes up too much room in the fridge.

                              1. re: charlesbois

                                If I saw Ina Garten swingin' a towel like that, I'd run for the hills!

                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                  There is always the Mr. Bean approach:

                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXKmAG...

                            2. We have a small kitchen with limited storage, but the salad spinner is so essential that we have it. We use it almost every day - lettuce and herbs mostly, but I'm known to grab it for other jobs like berries (no spin!).

                              We do seem to have a problem with leaving it a bit too close to to the stovetop, so we are on our third one...

                              1. I always use mine for leafy greens of any kind. for one thing, they last so much longer in the fridge when they're dry!

                                1. I lived without one for years. My technique for salad greens was to rinse them in a large bowl of cold water, drain in a colander, and then lay them out on a clean dish towel. Cover with another clean towel, roll it all up and refrigerate for an hour or two, up to overnight.

                                  That said, I really like having one now. I can wash a head of romaine for tomorrow's lunch, spin it and put the whole thing in the fridge, ready for the morning.

                                  1. They do take up a lot of space, and if I only used mine for salads I might not bother. However, the removable colander portion is useful for many other things, as HillJ mentioned. It is great for washing leeks or anything else that is sandy enough to need a good long soak, works well as an ice bath for shocking blanched items, etc.

                                    1. I like mine okay - I could live without it. It doesn't do anything other items (paper towels, hands, etc.) couldn't do, but does make them easier - I use mine for seeding tomatoes, especially cherry tomatoes.

                                      1. I bought one not too long ago at Ikea, because it was super cheap and I was in a "salad" phase. Well, the salad phase ended as soon as I bought the thing, and it's still sitting in the cabinet, in the wrapping.

                                        But, I am not a big salad person. I don't make salads on a regular basis. If you do, you probably would want a salad spinner.

                                        As for the cabinet space issue, I think if you were short on space, you could store things inside the spinner, like measuring cups, or small ramekins, or whatever other small gadgets that are taking up room. Maybe even kitchen towels.

                                        1. Love mine. Gets used once a week after I get home from the farmers market, one or two types of lettuce, plus a couple of kinds of greens. Everything is wrapped up in paper towels and baggies... And will last a week plus in the fridge.

                                          1. Our spinner doesn't spin much these days.

                                            Now that you have reminded me, the spinner does take up too much room. I think it will be retired to the " Home for Olde Appliances and other Needful Things, " this weekend.

                                            We do make daily use of our collapsible, silicone and stainless steel colanders. Rinsing vegetables, fruit, pasta, cooked everything, and other tasks. Easy to wash and put away.

                                            And yes, on occasion they have displayed table grapes.

                                             
                                            1. I like mine. I use it as an extra soaking tub for fresh broccoli. Some water and vinegar and the caterpillars come right out.

                                              1. Fair warning - this may gross some out.

                                                They're good for more than just greens as well. I had a dedicated one when I was caring for birds of prey to help wash and then prep their food. I called it the "Mouse Merry-Go-Round".

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: jw615

                                                  Curious. Raptors don't like damp mice?

                                                  1. re: tcamp

                                                    That's why they don't eat in the rain. Nothing worse than moist mice...

                                                    1. re: tcamp

                                                      Sometimes I would wash them in batches, so I wanted to dry them before putting in the fridge so they wouldn't get gross. Also, they got vitamins everyday, which had to be stuffed inside, and this is easier with a dry mouse.

                                                      This job completely got me over any problems I had with raw meat. A supermarket prepped chicken has NOTHING on butchering a rat.

                                                      And surprisingly, I had some picky owls. They really did not like eating the mice if they were wet - sometimes I would drive out to the cages in the middle of the night to feed them if I had to wait for it to stop raining.

                                                    2. re: jw615

                                                      One of the more interesting posts ever on CH: not sure it is under the correct topic or of great use to the average Hound. Love it!

                                                    3. It's useful but not essential. I can't love or hate a mere kitchen tool. Space is not an issue because I store it on a high shelf. There's no reason to leave it sitting out.

                                                      1. I could not live with out one! I eat salads for dinner most nights. I clean a salad spinner's worth of lettuce and store everything in the fridge. The letter stays fresh and the spinner is out of my way. I am on my second OXO. I had my first one for over 10 years, it was melted in a few spots and started to get very grimy.

                                                        1. Since joining a CSA it has become an invaluable tool. So much more efficient than my old colander/dishtowel method.

                                                          1. I use mine to rinse mushrooms. Place them in the basket, fill with cold water, put top on and spin. After they've had a rinse I throw the water out, and spin them dry.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: letsindulge

                                                              Interesting. I'll have to give this a whirl--so to speak.

                                                            2. I find my spinner useful. I wouldn't say I love it or hate it. But it is useful.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: sueatmo

                                                                let's put it this way -- I've got two international relocations under my belt, and the salad spinner made the cut both times...I can't say the same about a LOT of the miscellaneous gadgetry I acquired over the years.

                                                              2. Just bought a collapsible one - and love it. Stores flat and works well

                                                                1. Love mine - Besides salad I use it to rinse and dry herbs, sliced potatoes, berries, shrooms, leek, and way more that's not coming to mind

                                                                  1. It depends on how much salad I'm making. I live alone, and if I'm cooking just for myself it's quicker and easier to just wash a couple of leaves and dry them on a kitchen towel. If I'm cooking for a crowd the salad spinner is much more efficient. And I'm another fan of the Oxo.

                                                                    1. I love my spinner.
                                                                      I use it to dry spinach leaves and endive leaves before making spanakopita.

                                                                      1. We make salads daily and I can't stand a wet salad. I have swung a pillow case around sometimes for big salads but I use my salad spinner daily.

                                                                        1. I've had one that broke in 2 years. To short of a lifespan for my taste. So I've been swinging dish towels with extra padding in the center. For big salads I use the clothes washer spin cycle. Not planning anytime in the near future to get a spinner. I love that extra space my new pot.

                                                                          1. It is not as essential as a kitchen knife or a fry pan, but it is definitely not a waste of space as it can do many things.

                                                                            From a scale of 1 to 10; 1 being useless, and 10 being essential. I put it a 7-8.

                                                                            1. Mine has been in regular use for 40 years, and has proved amazingly durable. It's a plastic model with a very open inner colander (vertical half-inch slats of plastic with about a quarter-inch of space in between) and a crank-gear spinning mechanism. It was made in France, but very much doubt it still is.

                                                                              Haven't begrudged the space -- in the lower cabinet next to the sink -- because I often use the inner basket as a colander. In the heavy summer-fall produce season the outer container goes into service as both harvest 'basket' and as a prep/holding bowl: roomy yet lightweight and easy to clean.

                                                                              5 Replies
                                                                              1. re: ellabee

                                                                                Nope, that exact model is still a dime a dozen in France. Tefal makes a kajillion of that very model.

                                                                                Mind is Farberware, but it's the very same design -- I bought mine in the US, so I ended up with a US brand.

                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                  Cool to know! Mine is a 'Triumph' by Brevet. Guessing it was aimed at US and UK markets, given the English name. Are they still actually *made* in France?

                                                                                  1. re: ellabee

                                                                                    probably not. They still sell for a few euros, so my guess would be P.R.C.

                                                                                2. re: ellabee

                                                                                  We must have the same one. It has lasted for over 40 years and it gets frequent use (greens, herbs, berries, mushrooms). I'm amazed that the plastic and the mechanism have been so durable. They don't make them like this anymore.

                                                                                  I also highly recommend those green bags for storage. They let propylene gas to escape and greens that have been washed and spun dry last for weeks.

                                                                                  1. re: Chefpaulo

                                                                                    yep- they still make the plastic ones.

                                                                                3. Another user of the OXO; we have the larger size for 2 of us. Used for: 'shrooms, herbs, strawberries, kale and spinach, salad greens. Also used a lot for blanch/shock, (crudites, freezer, making spanikopita)
                                                                                  I pick up greens and broccoli, direct from farmers when I can; sometimes there are bugs.
                                                                                  Oh, and for drying poached shrimp, before serving as a chilled appetizer.

                                                                                  1. I couldn't do without one, personally.

                                                                                    1. I have become a big fan of salads. On a recent browsing trip at Target, I spotted one and then somehow I "needed" one and drying lettuce became an issue my conscious was happily ready to steal from my sub-conscious and convince me to just buy it. It felt like a random, splurge, binge buy (just because I am here and it might be nice kind of thing), but I've actually found it quite useful. Given it wasn't a necessity until I saw it in the store, I wrestled with whether to get the mini spinner on sale or the full deal which was four times more expensive. There are only 2 of us but I figured, I'd just go big and better safe than sorry. I like it and it's useful, although it is quite large and takes up a good bit of the storage room.

                                                                                      1. i had a small one but not worth it get the regular big size, much more convenient.