13 Non-Salad Uses for Your Salad Spinner

al62/iStock Via Getty Images Plus
al62/iStock Via Getty Images Plus

The salad spinner is the unsung hero of the kitchen. While some argue they're a waste of space, everyone from The Kitchn to Bon Appetit to professional chefs say they’re essential, and they’re right: Not only can you use a salad spinner to clean and quickly dry your greens and herbs (add water first, then put the greens in the basket; agitate the greens a bit, then let soak; drain the dirty water, and spin and dump until the leaves stop throwing off water) but there are myriads of other uses for a salad spinner, too. Here are a few of them.

1. Removing Seeds From Tomatoes

Tomato seeds can leave a bitter taste in your mouth—but fortunately, you can use a salad spinner to get rid of seeds in both fresh and canned tomatoes.

To remove seeds from whole canned tomatoes, Chowhound member Eric Higgins recommends first draining the juice, then breaking the tomatoes up a bit and placing them in your salad spinner. A few quick spins will throw the seeds away from the tomatoes. All that’s left is to strain the juice with a sieve so it’s seed-free for your sauce.

With fresh tomatoes, you can remove seeds and extra juice by quartering and salting the tomatoes and giving them a spin, which separates excess juice and seeds from the tomato flesh without sacrificing flavor. Now extra tomato juice won’t water down your recipe, and you won’t have to worry about seeds, either. And if you want, you can dry the seeds and plant them!

2. and 3. Get Rid of Moisture in Veggies and Meats

Taste of Home notes that you can also salt vegetables like zucchini and eggplant and give them a spin in your salad spinner to get rid of the very last bit of extra moisture.

You can also use a salad spinner to dry chicken or fish before applying breading so the coating doesn’t fall off, according to Taste of Home. Just make sure to thoroughly clean your salad spinner afterward so it’s not contaminated with bacteria from the meat.

4. Defrosting Frozen Shrimp

The website Chatelaine recommends using your salad spinner to speed up dinner prep—at least, when your dinner involves frozen shrimp. Simply place the shrimp in room temperature water in your salad spinner, and spin to thaw. Then, toss the water and give the shrimp another spin to dry.

5. Cleaning Broccoli

Broccoli can have plenty of dirt hiding in its florets. To get rid of that grime, cut the broccoli (or cauliflower, bok choy, or many other veggies) into equally sized pieces and soak, then spin them dry in your salad spinner.

6. Removing Excess Water From Pasta

There can be a lot of water hidden in the tubes and folds of pasta—which can make for a watery pasta salad where the dressing pools at the bottom rather than sticking to the macaroni. Take the pasta from the colander (don't drain it using the salad spinner's plastic basket; the boiling water could melt it!), toss it in the salad spinner, and give it a whirl until the pasta is dry.

7. and 8. A Cake Dome and Bread Proofer

Good Housekeeping recommends using the bowl of your salad spinner as a cake dome to protect the desserts from everything from bugs to kids—and, as a bonus, a covered treat is a treat that stays moist longer.

You can also use your salad spinner to proof dough. Remove the basket, pop your dough inside, and cover with the lid. The fact that your salad spinner is clear will let you get a glimpse of your dough’s rise, and the lid will keep the dough from drying out.

9. Clean and Drain Beans

If you’re cleaning canned beans, put aside the bowl of the salad spinner at first and dump the beans into the basket. Rinse the beans until the water is clear, then put them into the salad spinner and spin gently until the legumes are dry.

10. Cleaning Berries

Berries, like greens, are delicate and bruise easily. But not when you clean them in your salad spinner! As you would with greens, fill the salad spinner with water, then immerse the berries in the basket. Let them soak for a bit, then remove and drain the water. Raspberries should be dried on a paper towel, but if you’re cleaning blueberries or strawberries, feel free to give them a gentle spin.

11. Make Crispy Seasoned French Fries

Taste of Home recommends using your salad spinner twice in the French fry making process—once after you’ve soaked the potatoes, to get the extra moisture out, and once after frying, to remove excess oil. One commenter on Chowhound said they also use the salad spinner to season their fries. “I chop parsley or rosemary real fine … throw it in the spinner with the fries … a few slow turns distributes it evenly on the fries,” 9lives wrote. “A few fast turns generates centrifugal force and takes most of the excess [oil] off the fries. I find this gets the oil off better than putting them on a paper towel or bag.”

12. Getting Water Out of Swimsuits

It’s probably not a bad idea to pick up a second salad spinner for non-food uses, too. A sodden swimsuit drips everywhere and takes forever to dry. Cut down on drying time by giving your swimsuit a few spins in the salad spinner. According to Taste of Home, you can also dry small kids toys in the spinner.

13. Cleaning Delicate Clothing

Here’s a quick hack that will get you out of hand washing your delicates, whether they’re bras or kitchen linens: Use a salad spinner, instead. Put the delicates in the spinner with enough water to cover them, add a gentle soap, and spin to wash. Dump the water, add some more, and repeat until all the suds are gone; then spin again to get them almost dry before hanging to dry fully.

Amazon's Best Cyber Monday Deals on Tablets, Wireless Headphones, Kitchen Appliances, and More


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11 Fascinating Facts About Mark Twain

Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Mark Twain is widely considered the author of the first great American novel—The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn—but his rollicking tales aren’t the only legacy he left behind. His poignant quotes and witticisms have been told and retold (sometimes erroneously) over the last century and a half, and his volume of work speaks for itself. Over the course of his legendary career, Twain—real name Samuel Langhorne Clemens—wrote more than a dozen novels plus countless short stories and essays and still found time to invent new products, hang out with famous scientists, and look after a house full of cats.

1. Mark Twain is a nautical reference.

Like many of history’s literary greats, Mark Twain (né Samuel Langhorne Clemens) decided to assume an alias early on in his writing career. He tried out a few different names—Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass, Sergeant Fathom, and, more plainly, Josh—before settling on Mark Twain, which means two fathoms (12 feet) deep in boating jargon. He got the idea while working as a steamboat pilot on the Mississippi River—a job he held for four years until the Civil War broke out in 1861, putting a halt to commerce. (However, another popular theory holds that he earned the nickname in a bar. According to reports in a couple of 19th-century newspapers, he’d walk into a pub and call out “mark twain!,” prompting the bartender to take a piece of chalk and make two marks on a wall for twain—two—drinks. Twain denied this version of events, though.)

2. In addition to being a steamboat pilot, Mark Twain also worked as a miner.

Shortly after his stint on The Big Muddy, Twain headed west with his brother to avoid having to fight in the war. He took up work as a miner in Virginia City, Nevada, but the job wasn't for him. (He described it as "hard and long and dismal.") Fortunately for Twain, he didn’t have to work there long. In 1862, he was offered his first writing job for Virginia City’s Territorial Enterprise newspaper, where he covered crime, politics, mining, and culture.

3. A story Mark Twain heard in a bar led to his “big break.”

Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress), Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

In 1864, Twain headed to Calaveras County, California in hopes of striking gold as a prospector (he didn’t). However, it was during his time here that he heard the bartender of the Angels Hotel in Angels Camp share an incredulous story about a frog-jumping contest. Twain recounted the tale in his own words in The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. It was published in 1865 in The New York Saturday Press and went on to receive national acclaim.

4. It took Mark Twain seven years to write The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Twain started writing the sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876, but he wasn’t too pleased with his progress. After writing about 400 pages, he told a friend he liked it "only tolerably well, as far as I have got, and may possibly pigeonhole or burn" the manuscript. He put the project on the back burner for several years and finally finished it in 1883 following a burst of inspiration.

5. Mark Twain invented a board game.

While Twain was putting off writing The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, he was busy working on a game he dubbed Memory Builder. It was originally supposed to be an outdoor game to help his children learn about England’s monarchs, but he ended up turning it into a board game to improve its chances of selling. However, after two years of work, it was still too convoluted to be marketable and required a vast knowledge of historical facts and dates. That didn’t stop him from patenting the game, though.

6. Mark Twain created "improved" scrapbooks and suspenders.

Memory Builder wasn't Twain's only invention; he also patented two other products. One was inspired by his love of scrapbooking, while the other came about from his hatred of suspenders. He designed a self-adhesive scrapbook that works like an envelope, which netted him about $50,000 in profits. His “improvement in adjustable and detachable straps for garments” also ended up being useful, but for an entirely different purpose than Twain originally intended. According to The Atlantic, “This clever invention only caught on for one snug garment: the bra. For those with little brassiere experience, not a button, nor a snap, but a clasp is all that secures that elastic band, which holds up women's breasts. So not-so-dexterous ladies and gents, you can thank Mark Twain for that."

7. Thomas Edison filmed Twain at home.

Only one video of Twain exists, and it was shot by none other than his close friend Thomas Edison. The footage was captured in 1909—one year before the author died—at Twain’s estate in Redding, Connecticut. He’s seen sporting a light-colored suit and his usual walrus mustache, and one scene shows him with his daughters, Clara and Jean. On a separate occasion that same year, Edison recorded Twain as he read stories into a phonograph, but those audio clips were destroyed in a fire. No other recording of Twain’s voice exists.

8. Mark Twain did wear white suits, but not as often as you might think.

Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

When you think of Mark Twain, you probably picture him in an all-white suit with a cigar or pipe hanging from his lips. It’s true that he was photographed in a white suit on several occasions, but he didn’t start this habit until later in life. According to The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum, “In December 1906, he wore a white suit while appearing before a congressional committee regarding copyright. He did this for dramatic emphasis. Several times after that he wore white out of season for effect.” He also refused to trade his white clothes for “shapeless and degrading black ones” in the winter, no matter how cold it got. So take that, people who subscribe to the “no white after Labor Day” rule.

9. At one point, Mark Twain had 19 cats.

Twain really, really liked cats—so much so that he had 19 of them at one time. And if he was traveling, he would “rent” cats to keep him company. In fact, he had a much higher opinion of felines than humans, remarking, “If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” He also had a talent for coming up with some great cat names; Beelzebub, Blatherskite, Buffalo Bill, Sour Mash, Zoroaster, Soapy Sal, Pestilence, Bambino, and Satan were just a few of the kitties in his brood.

10. Mark Twain probably didn’t say that thing you think he said.

Twain is one of the most misquoted authors in history. According to one quote wrongfully attributed to him, “It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.” What Twain actually said was, “[He] was endowed with a stupidity which by the least little stretch would go around the globe four times and tie.” There are many, many examples of these.

11. Mark Twain accurately predicted when he would die.

When he was born on November 30, 1835, Halley’s Comet was visible from Earth. It appears roughly every 75 years, and Twain predicted he would die the next time it graced the sky. As he put it in 1909, “I came in with Halley’s Comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go out with it. It will be the greatest disappointment of my life if I don’t go out with Halley’s Comet. The Almighty has said, no doubt: ‘Now here are these two unaccountable freaks; they came in together, they must go out together.’ Oh, I am looking forward to that.” He ended up passing away at his Connecticut home on April 21, 1910, one day after Halley’s Comet appeared in the sky once again.

This story has been updated for 2020.