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The Salad Spinner Mistake To Avoid For Perfectly Washed Greens

Salad spinner with chopped romaine
Salad spinner with chopped romaine - Candice Bell/Getty Images

Some kitchen gadgets just work harder than others, as long as you know all the tricks. A salad spinner is a great example because while it seems like it's only got one job — quick-drying lettuce — it can spin all kinds of veggies in a flash. Pop some cut-up potatoes in your spinner next time you want to make homemade french fries or use your spinner to dry out chickpeas for roasting. A lot of people make the same mistake when using a salad spinner, however: Washing the produce in a separate bowl or rinsing the leaves off under the faucet.

A salad spinner is made up of three parts: A soft plastic basket for holding the tender lettuce, a hard glass or plastic outer bowl, and some type of lid with a crank for spinning. That outer bowl, which catches the water when you spin the lettuce, is often overlooked as just a part of the mechanism when, in fact, it is also the perfect vessel for washing the food.

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Fill The Spinner With Water

Submerging lettuce in water
Submerging lettuce in water - Dragon Images/Shutterstock

Google "how to use a salad spinner" and chances are you'll get a lot of conflicting information. Some say to rinse the lettuce separately in the sink before placing the leaves in the basket for spinning. Others say to use the basket in the sink like a colander and rinse the leaves before putting the basket back in the spinner. The best way to wash lettuce, however, is to soak it for a few minutes in a bowl of cold water. Fully immersing the leaves in water allows gravity to pull dirt off of every little nook and cranny in your lettuce leaves, which is impossible to do by rinsing it under the faucet. You don't need to reach for a separate bowl, either; the spinner bowl was made for this job.

When you're ready to wash some lettuce, cut up the leaves and toss them into the basket inside the spinner. Now, fill the whole thing with cold water so that the leaves are floating; it's important to make sure that there's space between the bottom of the bowl and the floating leaves so that the dirt separates from the lettuce. Now, agitate the leaves a little bit to get any dirt or sediment to come off of the leaves, and let everything soak for a minute or two.

Drain The Leaves, Then Spin

spinach in a salad spinner
spinach in a salad spinner - Oceane2508/Getty Images

Once you've let your lettuce sit in the cold water for a few minutes, which lets the dirt settle to the bottom of the bowl, lift the basket out of the spinner and dump the dirty water out into the sink. Finally, put the basket full of clean, crisp lettuce back into the bowl, pop the top on, and give everything a good spin until the leaves are fluffy and dry. You'll get perfectly crisp leaves without any dirt or grit, and they'll be dry enough to grab onto your favorite salad dressing.

Don't stop at washing lettuce this way, either. You can also use your spinner for cleaning bunches of fresh herbs, which are notoriously gritty even from the grocery store. They're also great for cleaning small produce like cherry tomatoes, delicate berries, fresh mushrooms, and even small summer squashes like zucchini and patty pans that grow on the ground. So, while yes, the name of the device is technically a "salad spinner" because of the way it dries your veggies, it should more accurately be called a "vegetable washer" because you can clean and dry all kinds of delicate produce with one handy gadget.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.