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What is a Salad Spinner?

By R. Kayne
Updated May 16, 2024
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A salad spinner is a plastic bowl with a removable plastic strainer and special top that, when closed and activated, spins the strainer inside the bowl. When the strainer is filled with freshly washed salad, the spinning motion pulls excess water from the vegetables, flinging it through the walls of the strainer to the sides of the bowl, where it runs down and collects in the bottom.

Many people find that one of the biggest inconveniences of preparing salad is washing and attempting to pat the ingredients dry with paper towels. If too much water is left, it makes the salad heavy. This device takes the hassle out of preparing raw vegetables by providing a simple way to dry them quickly.

Using a salad spinner is simple. Once the cook has prepared the salad, she can follow these steps:

  • Remove the strainer from the spinner.
  • Place the salad inside the strainer.
  • Hold the strainer under the faucet to thoroughly rinse the salad.
  • Place the strainer back in the spinner bowl and secure the lid.
  • Activate the spinning motion.

After several seconds, she should stop the spinner and remove the top. The vegetables will be free of excess water and ready for a plate. Cooks can add croutons, cheese, dressings, or any other toppings.

People can use a salad spinner to store freshly washed salad as well. After washing and spinning, they can empty any water from the bowl, replace the strainer, and secure the lid. The clean vegetables can be stored this way in the refrigerator so that they are ready to eat.

These kitchen tools come in a variety of sizes and designs, though all of them work on the same principle. Some have knob-lids for manual spinning, while others operate on pump action by a cylinder that pops up from the lid. Using the palm, a cook presses down on the cylinder or pump to generate the spinning motion. Most pump action devices also have a brake in the form of a button in the lid; when the cook wants the spinning to stop, she simply presses the button. Still other spinners use pullcords to generate the motion.

Salad spinners are generally dishwasher safe, but consumers should read any instructions or directions that might come with a particular model.

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Discussion Comments

By medicchristy — On Jul 26, 2010

@stormyknight: I agree that salad spinners are very useful. I sometimes put poultry in mine. When I cook poultry, I like to season the outside but it is sometimes hard when the poultry is still wet.

The solution to this is to toss the pieces of meat into the salad spinner. This dries the meat quickly so that the coating will stick.

By StormyKnight — On Jul 26, 2010

I love my salad spinner! It is probably the most useful thing I have purchased in quite some time. I use it for my salads but I also use it to get the extra water out of my pasta. All you have to do is place your drained pasta in the slotted part of your salad spinner to remove the majority of the water. Then place it in your salad spinner to remove the rest of the water.

By catapult43 — On Jul 03, 2009

They are really good in removing excess water from the lettuce. If you eat a lot of salads, or prepare salads for a large group, they are definitely worth owning.

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