I grew up in the 60s. Back then, my mom was a swinger…a salad swinger. She’d swaddle a head of rinsed lettuce in a kitchen towel, head for the back porch and swing it in windmill-like fashion. She’d really get some speed on it, building enough centrifical force to propel water off into space or dislocate a shoulder. Occasionally she’d lose control and launch it across the backyard sending everyone into giggle spasms.
When I moved out and started making my own salads, I lived in downtown Seattle. Although I had access to a small front porch, I was far too self-conscious to swing my greens within eye-shot of the Space Needle. Thankfully, I discovered salad spinners.
In my family, I’m known as the Queen of Salad Making. So before going on about salad spinners, let me adjust my crown, get my sash and present a little salad history: The word “salad” comes from the Latin word salata meaning salty. The ancient Romans seasoned their greens and veggies with salty oil and vinegar dressing. The end.
Salads aren’t confined to greens. There are fruit, potato, jello, tuna and pasta varieties. My personal focus right now are green-based, veggie-full salads. Although a spritz of lemon, a splash of olive oil, a sprinkle of sea salt and a good grind of pepper is the healthiest way to go, I do love to toss in small amounts of creamy dressings and will share some dressing ideas/recipes in the next post. For now, I’d like to focus on the base of a green salad, and its namesake, the greens.
A rule of thumb is: the darker green the better. Kale and spinach hit the highest nutritional marks. For crunchy texture, romaine and iceberg are winners. My personal favorite green salad base is romaine, to which I’ll add baby kale, spinach and/or arugula for variety.
As for cleaning greens, I chose to trust that the triple-washed greens in plastic “clamshells” are clean. Call me lazy. For heads of romaine, red or green leaf, I use a salad spinner and consider this tool an essential in my kitchen.
Salad spinners were introduced to the mass market in the 70s and you best believe my mom got herself one. The spinners I carry at kitchensink are from Zyliss.
I adore the Zyliss salad spinner. It’s beautiful, sturdy and works like a charm. I cut or tear my greens before spinning. As long as I use them within a day or two, I usually don’t have any problem with browning. If I have room in my fridge, I store any leftover greens right in the salad spinner. Otherwise, I cram them into an airtight glass jar.
My recent transition to a tiny kitchen made me rethink what I consider to be necessities for cooking. Salad spinners are one of the behemoths of kitchen gadgetry, but I use it a couple times a week. I couldn’t live without it. Finally, I gave up looking for a shelf where it would fit. Instead, I found it a place of honor atop a cabinet overlooking the kitchen where it sits for easy access. Like a throne fit for a queen.
Stop in at kitchensink and grab one of these beautiful salad spinners, then stay tuned for more on salads from,
Head Scullery Maid
100 E Pennsylvania Ave | Roslyn, Washington
Thursday and Sunday 11 to 4 | Friday and Saturday 11 to 6