Welcome to One Simply Terrific Thing, our ongoing series highlighting the small tools and kitchen goods that make life better.
Years ago I heard legendary chef Alice Waters wax poetic about how she hand dries lettuce with cloth towels, taking care not to bruise a single leaf. While I admire chef Waters’ cooking chops, that could never be me.
Sure, leafy greens in my house are treated with reverence, but any drying is done in my OXO Salad Spinner ($29.99 for the large). I consider it a can’t-live-without kitchen tool that I pull out nearly every day.
How I Use My OXO Salad Spinner
The job of a salad spinner is simple: to dry lettuce. It’s an important task since salad dressing won’t cling if the leaves are wet—plus, nobody likes soggy lettuce. I have two ways to approach it depending on how dirty the greens are:
1. There’s Little Obvious Dirt on the Greens
If there’s little obvious dirt, set the colander of the spinner in the sink, add the lettuce, and run it under cold water, sloughing off any debris with your thumbs. Then, shake the colander, drop it into the spinner bowl, pop on the lid, and pump it as many times as necessary to dry the leaves. If you have a lot of lettuce, do this in batches, since lettuce won’t dry when the bowl is crowded.
2. The Greens Are Visibly Dirty
If the greens are particularly dirty, put the bowl of the salad spinner—minus the colander—in the sink, fill it with cold water, and add the lettuce. Swirl the leaves around and slough off the dirt, which will drift to the bottom of the bowl. Then, lift the leaves out of the water and into the spinner’s colander. You may need to do this more than once until the water in the bowl looks clean. Then, proceed as described above.
The OXO Salad Spinner Isn’t Just For Salad Greens
It’s worth noting that a salad spinner is handy for plenty of other produce beyond lettuce. It does a bang-up job drying fresh herbs, dark leafy greens, shredded cabbage, broccoli, berries, and the list goes on. You can even use it to spin excess water off of cooked pasta—a terrific idea if you’re making pasta salad or a cold noodle dish.
Ultimately, what I love about my salad spinner is that it makes quick work of prepping greens. And having leafy greens at the ready means I’m that much more likely to eat them—adding kale to scrambled eggs, piling arugula onto sandwiches, and tossing together salads for dinner.
Another plus? Manning the salad spinner is one of the more satisfying kitchen chores out there and an ideal task to outsource to kids. I would like to think that even Alice Waters might agree.
BUY IT: OXO Salad Spinner