When you live in a home or apartment that has limited kitchen storage space, bringing in new appliances or gadgets can be a serious headache… especially if they’re bulky. However, when a tool—like a salad spinner—has multifunctional benefits, we’re all ears.
Like a great BOGO deal, a salad spinner really does it all—meaning so much more than just taking your greens for a wild ride. We spoke with Gregory Gourdet, a chef and founder of Kann and Sousòl and James Beard Foundation Award-Winning Author of Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health about the many genius ways you can put this tool to work. He also shared his favorite salad spinner on the market (which means it’s time to finally clear out that battered old popcorn popper of yours to make space).
Five brilliant uses for a salad spinner
1. Revive wilted greens
Quite possibly the most surprising (and magical) way to use a salad spinner is by bringing soggy greens or herbs back to life. According to Gourdet, you just need to follow three simple steps to execute it this trick.
“If greens from your local farmers market or grocery store have wilted in the fridge, you can easily revive them with a 10 to 15-minute ice bath and a few twirls in a salad spinner,” Gourdet says. Start by filling up the bowl of a salad spinner with ice water, then submerge the basket filled with the greens inside. Once the parched greens have absorbed the moisture and replenished their dehydrated cells for about 10 to 15 minutes, lift the basket containing the greens out, and dispose of the ice water. Finally, give the greens a good spin to remove any excess moisture.
The result: Shockingly revived greens that look good as new, which Gourdet says also works for herbs like cilantro, parsley, and mint. Swoon.
2. Use it as a serving bowl for minimal cleanup
For minimal cleanup and maximum practicality, Gourdet says his favorite salad spinner on the market doubles as a serving bowl once he’s done using it for cleaning, prepping, and spinning greens. “The Glass Salad Spinner from OXO transitions beautifully from the kitchen to table with its sustainable, borosilicate glass body, which doubles as a stunning glass serving bowl,” he says. Basically, the space that it occupies in an already-cramped kitchen cabinet is more than worth it, because it does double-duty. (Read: this is the perfect excuse to do away with those cracked vintage Pyrex bowls.)
3. Wash other fruits and veggies (without wasting an entire roll of paper towel)
Although it’s called a salad spinner, this tool can rinse more than just romaine leaves. Enlist it to clean other types of fresh produce, like strawberries, blueberries, or broccoli. To do so, drop your fruits and veggies into the basket, rinse them, soak them, and strain out the water. Then, gently spin them to dry quickly—this is a super smart way to cut back on paper towel waste. Best part? The spinning motion won’t bruise your delicate produce, yet it’ll dry them thoroughly and prep them for your snacking or cooking needs.
4. Strain and dry pasta
Since the last thing we want to do is take up even more precious cabinet space with bulky cooking tools, you might want to consider ditching your pasta strainer once and for all and using a salad spinner to get the job done, dare I say, even better than a regular colander. If you’re worried about there being too much pasta water trapped in the grooves of your macaroni or penne, a quick spin will help remove any excess moisture in seconds… and spare you from eating a soggy bowl of mac and cheese.
5. Rinsing beans
Need to rinse beans for a recipe but don’t want them turning into a mushy mess by the end? This is definitely a task for a trusty salad spinner. Simply toss in a can of beans, give them a good rinse until they’re no longer slimy, drain them, and spin away until they’re shiny, dry, and ready to use. Say goodbye to the days of accidentally dropping half of your canned beans down the skin as you attempt to rinse and drain them thoroughly.
What to do with your clean greens? How about this easy kale salad: