A salad spinner makes the washing and drying of salad greens a simple task. It's one of those gadgets that, once you own one, you wonder how you lived without it. This is especially true the first time you see all of the gritty, dirty water that results from washing your salad greens. Another benefit of owning a salad spinner is that it can be used for more than just washing greens. While they aren't expensive to buy brand new, if you come across one during garage sale season, you can pick it up for even less.
Here are a few ways to use a salad spinner:
Kids go swimming often when camping, so instead of hanging bathing suits to dry, whirl them in your salad spinner to remove excess water. Kids enjoy using it, so let them play with it to help dry their suits. This works well for backyard pool swimming, too.
When making pasta salad, the salad spinner can replace your colander for draining macaroni. It helps prevent watered-down spaghetti sauce, too.
Vegetables and fruit:
When frying French fries or hash browns, you want the potatoes to be as dry as possible. Give them a spin before frying. Spinners are useful to dry zucchini for zucchini bread or eggplant after it's been salted for various dishes, too. To save a bit of time, wash and cut vegetables, dry them in the spinner, then place them in the fridge for use throughout the week.
Another reader, Karen from Kansas, shares: "I got a cheapo salad spinner at a thrift store years ago. I use it not only for salad greens, but for spinning fruits and vegetables after they have been in an acid water dip before I stick them in the dehydrator. I give fruits and vegetables a gentle spin after washing to remove most of the water before using or storing in the refrigerator, too. For hash browns, if you add ascorbic acid powder, citric acid powder, or Fruit Fresh (which contains both) to the water you place the shredded raw potatoes in, your potatoes will stay white. Using ascorbic acid powder in the water will also add back some of the vitamin C lost in the processing of the potatoes. You can give the shredded potatoes an acid water bath and then a quick spin in the salad spinner to help remove much of the excess water."
When letting dough (pizza, bread, etc.) rise, place the dome section of your salad spinner on top of your dough. You can see through the dome to watch progress. Another reader, Denise from Illinois, shares: "If you need a quick baked cake cover, invert the bottom of a salad spinner."
You can add dressing and spin to evenly coat your salad greens, or use the spinner to remove excess dressing.
Meat, fish and poultry:
After washing and before coating, recipes typically ask you to pat meat dry. You can use your salad spinner to remove any excess water so your coatings stick well.
While I wouldn't use the spinner for any food purposes afterward, you can create fun spin art projects with kids. Simply cut some paper to fit the spinner, add some paint drops and spin.
For a tutorial, visit brassyapple.blogspot.com/2008/06/spin-art-tutorial.html.
Homemade peanut butter:
When making homemade peanut butter, the hardest part is shelling and removing the skin from the peanuts. Once shelled, rub the peanuts a bit to loosen skins and then put them into your salad spinner and spin. The skins will separate from the peanuts.
photo by noricum