The first in a new series about products, pantry items and tools to facilitate healthy cooking and eating, Healthy Kitchen Essentials shares personal tips and tricks out of my home kitchen and from my professional experience. I don’t endorse any products here, and I haven’t received any freebies.
I’m not a big fan of kitchen gadgets that only do one thing. For example: the apple slicer. Sure it’s great to slice up an apple without getting out a cutting board, but the 99.9% of the time that you are eating something other than an apple? It just takes up space in the Sharp Utensil Drawer that you already have trouble shutting. I prefer the old-fashioned apple slicer–a knife–because it also slices all your other food, and generally does a better job even with the apple.
But there are a few tasks that an all-purpose tool can’t handle, like cleaning and drying leafy greens like lettuce, kale, spinach, collards and herbs like cilantro and parsley. For that, it’s worth investing in a salad spinner. I prefer one like the Oxo pictured above where you push down and pump to spin the greens but I’ve also used ones that are powered like a lawn mower starter, or an old-school coffee-grinder and those work just fine too. In addition to cleaning greens, I also use my salad spinner to dry off boiled, steamed, and blanched-and-shocked vegetables. And in a tight space, the basket can double as a colander and the plastic bowl, an additional mixing bowl when you aren’t using it for its salad spinning capabilities.
But yes, even with a few extra uses, the salad spinner is still clearly a one-trick pony. But the good news is that it can only be used to make your diet healthier and fresher (not to mention cheaper when comparing home-cleaned greens with the bagged versions at the store that are often twice the price). Compare that to other single-function tools like the ice cream maker, deep fryer, pizza cutter and waffle iron. Even that blender you said you were getting for smoothies, I know you are using to make margaritas. You can’t outsmart the salad spinner like that.