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Salad spinner a key piece of equipment for gardeners

By Penny Stine

Everybody knows you can’t garden without good tools. This year, I added a basic pitchfork to my arsenal of shovels, hoes and other weapons of grass destruction. The pitchfork’s great for turning compost, which is a necessity for the kitchen gardener. However, I have really come to appreciate another gardening implement that’s made my life easier this summer: the salad spinner.

I know. At first glance a salad spinner doesn’t seem like a great garden tool, and I suppose it wouldn’t be if I had tons of time, drying racks or didn’t want to eat almost everything I grow. Since I don’t use pesticides or herbicides on my garden, I don’t need to worry about washing that off my produce, but I use irrigation water. My veggies, especially those with an edible leaf, tend to be coated with a fine film of your basic Colorado River silt.

A spinner, for those not acquainted with this high-tech gadget, is an indispensible piece of equipment. Put the dirty leaves in the colander. Rinse thoroughly under running water. Put the colander in the bowl and add the top piece.

Give it a couple good whacks to make the colander spin and in a matter of seconds, your greens are silt-free. Not only does the spinner get rid of the excess dirt and water, it also separates the earwigs and other bugs from the produce. How cool is that?

I’ve used my spinner all summer long for spinach, Swiss chard, basil, lettuce, kale and other assorted herbs that tend to get waterlogged after rinsing. Plus, the basic bowl is big enough for gathering strawberries, squash, corn, tomatoes, broccoli, tomatillos, beans or anything else that requires a simple rinse rather than a soak and a spin.

Of course, it lives on the counter all summer long, which adds to the look of chaotic disorder that is the hallmark of my summertime kitchen, but whaddya going to do?


 

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