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:
Camping: 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.
Draining macaroni: 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.