Thursday, September 10, 2009

Salad spinners, old school

When I lived in France in my late teens, I was introduced to my first salad spinner. Jeanine (who was the live-in housekeeper in the pension where I lived) took a bunch of washed greens, put them in a dishtowel, formed the towel into a bag and then just did a Pete Townshend-style windmill with her arm. The centrifugal force made the water come flying out through the weave of the dishtowel. When she was done, she had perfectly dried lettuce.

There is a world of complex, multi-part salad spinners on the market, but sometimes the simplest is the best. Here are a couple of salad spinners that are based on the same principle: using the cook's arm as the operative component.

1 This is a really old-school French salad spinner. They probably don't make them like this any more; the basket shown here is a reproduction of an antique and is available on Amazon for $23.

2 Remember these collapsible wire baskets? It was probably one of the first grown-up kitchen items I owned after I graduated from college. The cool thing is that when you flip the handles down, they become feet for the basket so that it can stand on its own. You may be able to find it in hardware stores around the country, but you can definitely get one for $9 from Lehmans.

3 The flaw in these first two spinners (and in the towel-flinging method described above) is that you throw water everywhere. No problem if you have a porch or backyard, but sort of a problem if you live in an apartment—not that that ever stopped me. So here is a salad spinner (which as far as I can make out is still just sold in Europe) from a Danish design firm called Eva Solo. The bucket is flexible so that after you wash the greens in it, you pinch the rim of the bucket to form a spout and pour out the water. Then you whirl the bucket around by its nylon handle. The water is forced to the bottom of the bucket, where it collects under a drainage plate that separates the greens from the water. Check here for more info on the bucket (and other Eva Solo designs).

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much - I've been looking all over the Interwebs for a mesh salad spinner to occupy the kiddos while we make dinner (and let them "help.") ///Jenna