University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Helping you prepare healthy foods in a hurry

Alice Henneman, MS, Registered Dietitian and Extension Educator
University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County


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Quick Tip - May 2003

Take a Salad Spinner for a Spin!

Salad dressing slides off damp salad greens and collects in the bottom of the salad bowl. You'll get more flavor with less dressing (and fewer calories!) if salad greens are washed and thoroughly dried before tossing your salad with dressing. A tablespoon of an oil and vinegar dressing may be all it takes for two cups of dried salad greens.

The easiest and quickest way to dry salad greens is in a salad spinner.

A salad spinner uses centrifugal force to remove water from freshly washed salad greens and herbs. Your wet greens are placed in a perforated basket that fits in a larger outer bowl. The bowl is covered with a lid that has a gear-operated handle, pull-cord or knob that you pump to turn the inner basket and spin the water off into the outer bowl.

When purchasing a salad spinner, take it for a spin at the store! You want a model that is sturdy, has a well-fitting lid and spins easily. Choose a model large enough so you don't have to go through several "spin cycles" to dry all your greens.

Pack greens lightly to avoid overcrowding and bruising them. After spinning, pat off any remaining moisture with clean paper towels.

Note: To wash greens, separate the leaves and place in a clean sink or deep bowl filled with cold water and swish the leaves around. If necessary, remove any stems. Lift greens from the water and transfer to another bowl so dirt and grit remains in the water. Pour out the water and repeat the washing process in clean water until dirt and grit is gone and the water is clear.

It may take three or four washings for some greens. For harder to reach sections of salad greens, you may want to hold leaves under running water. Wash your hands with warm, soapy water before you begin washing your greens. Tear lettuce at the time of making your salad.

Wash salad greens shortly before using them. Store unwashed salad greens in the crisper section of your refrigerator using a plastic bag with holes poked in it. Avoid storing greens next to fruits such as bananas and apples. They emit ethylene gas as they ripen. This can cause brown spots on your greens and shorten storage time.

If you're washing greens earlier in the day, consider lining your salad bowl with clean paper towels, adding your greens and sealing the bowl with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator. Or, refrigerate your washed greens in your salad spinner.


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Developed By:

Alice C. Henneman, MS, RD
Extension Educator
University of Nebraska
Cooperative Extension in Lancaster County

Fax: (402) 441-7148
Phone: (402) 441-7180
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For more information about preparing healthy meals, contact your local University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension Office; for the location of the office nearest you, click here. For a listing of Cooperative Extension Offices throughout the United States, click here.

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