How do I wash leafy vegetables? Should I buy a salad spinner?

The video below demonstrates the washing of kale with a salad spinner and you can apply similar actions to most leafy vegetables.

In the members’ reference library, there will also be a video to show you how to dry the leaves without a salad spinner. And perhaps at some point, I might do a video comparing vegetables that have been dried with a salad spinner versus those that have been dried by other methods.

As a summary of the video, here are the steps to washing leafy vegetables with a salad spinner:

  1. Fill your sink or a basin with lots of water.
  2. Put the leaves into the water and toss the leaves around with your hands and gently rub the leaves (paying closer attention to the folds/curls if they look gritty and covered in soil).
  3. Usually the leaves float to the top and the sediment sinks to the bottom so gently lift the leaves out of the water and into your salad spinner. If the leaves are particularly dirty, change the water and rinse again. The water should be clear at the end with just the sediment at the bottom.
  4. For vegetables like kale that have hardy stems, it’s helpful to pluck the leaves as the stems and leaves cook at different rates. And also if you’re going to use kale for things like smoothies, it’s better to exclude the stems unless you prefer a drink with quite a bit of chew*,
  5. Put the lid on your salad spinner and spin away! And that’s it.
  6. You can then store the leaves in the fridge for use the rest of the week if you’re not using it all at once.

*High speed blenders can handle the stems but I personally that it’s better to spin for less time so you keep the drink as cool as possible.

Onto the next question of whether you should get a salad spinner…

I regularly get asked “should I buy X?”. This seems like an easy question, but in order to give a meaningful answer, it helps to know a little more about your cooking/food preferences and your situation (skills/budget/space). And since this post is a one-sided conversation, I’ll provide a brief list of questions you can ask yourself and I’ll share my situation of getting a spinner. Hopefully you can glean what’s appropriate for your situation.

Questions that might helpful to ask yourself:

  1. How often do you wash your own salad leaves?
  2. How much storage space do you have?
  3. Is there a better use for the money that you would spend on spinner? (In the kitchen or otherwise).
  4. Do you find it a faff to wait for leaves to dry or to use a towel to dry them?
  5. Do the dishes you cook with leafy vegetable turn out watery or soggy? (For instance: stir-fries or casseroles with spinach)

I didn’t get a salad spinner until fairly recently because I mostly buy pre-washed salads. For non-salads, I managed to get the leaves dry enough that I didn’t have watery dishes (or at least not often enough to prompt me to get a spinner). Storage space was usually limited in the flats I lived in so it wasn’t a priority – I bought one when I moved to a place that had much more storage space since I cook a lot and it does come in handy now that I have one.

This is the spinner that I have: It works well and I have a child-like joy when I press the brake on it!


Hope this helps. If you have any further questions, please write to:

See you next Tuesday,


p.s. sorry about the incorrect date on the introductory slide in the video!

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