How do you dry lettuce w/o paper towels or plastic salad spinner? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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We are a paper towel and plastic free home and I am in search of a way to dry lettuce without a salad spinner or using paper towel.

I have tried washing the leaves, shaking them off, putting them in a bowl and then putting a dish cloth over the top of the bowl, holding it on, turning it upside down and shaking....but the lettuce is still too wet for my liking.

I LOVE salad and I love being able to grow my own and go pick it for that night's supper. But I hate the washing and drying part. For some reason that just feel like such a tedious job to me.

I've looked up stainless steel salad spinners but they have a plastic insert so what is the point?

What do you guys do?

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#2 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 09:36 AM
 
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I just use wet lettuce, but you can put it in a tea towel and swing it around... makes some splatters, though.
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#3 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have found that my dressing doesn't stick to the wet lettuce. How do you get around that?

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#4 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 10:33 AM
 
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I have been known to lay it all out on a tea towel, then lay another towel over top of it , then gently press down all over the top towel. That only does a small amount of lettuce, so if you are doing alot, it is time consuming and you go through alot of towels! But you can hang them to dry and still use the towels in the kitchen without washing, imo.

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#5 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 11:13 AM
 
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I've heard of people putting their lettuce in a clean pillowcase and throwing it in the washing machine on the spin cycle for a quick round.
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#6 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 11:44 AM
 
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I do the press between two towels method but I use larger towels.

I know someone who puts the lettuce in a pillow case and, holding it by the open end, spins it over her head. Do this outside as water get's everywhere.

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#7 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 11:47 AM
 
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I'd love to know how you avoid plastic completely. Do you not buy bread, cereal, crackers, cheese, yogurt or other packaged foods? No shampoo, dishsoap, rubbing alcohol, etc?

For your lettuce, you can put it in a pillowcase and swing it around. That's the original salad spinner. But really, a little mindfully purchased plastic that serves a purpose like this isn't going to destroy the universe and won't put your food at risk. Unlike the many single-use items listed above, this one will last and serve a purpose. If you buy one used at a thrift shop or yard sale, you're not creating new impact.
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#8 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 11:50 AM
 
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flour sack towels. or really I just rinse it and let it dry in the coliander

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#9 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 11:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Limabean1975 View Post
I have been known to lay it all out on a tea towel, then lay another towel over top of it , then gently press down all over the top towel. That only does a small amount of lettuce, so if you are doing alot, it is time consuming and you go through alot of towels! But you can hang them to dry and still use the towels in the kitchen without washing, imo.
That's what I do, too. If you're making the salad ahead of time, just put the lettuce between two towels, roll it up and let it sit for a few minutes. A few gentle squeezes help, too

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#10 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 11:54 AM
 
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I put it on a dish towel, roll it up and press. Then I put the lettuce in a dry dish towel and place it in the refrigerator to get crisp.
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#11 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 01:22 PM
 
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I'm not sure what your reasons are for not wanting to use plastic (food safety or ethical reasons or both) but I would still go with the spinner.

Personally, I think that it uses less resourced to spin the lettuce (even if the spinner is plastic) than to wash the towels. I've been using the same spinner for years, it was my parents and it is over 30 years old and still works great!

I wouldn't use the washer, that is way overkill unless you are washing lettuce for 100 people.

Sometimes when I feel lazy, I wash the lettuce, shake it out, lay it on a tea towel, roll it up and put it in the crisper. It stays fresh pretty well this way.
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#12 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 03:57 PM
 
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People dry lettuce? I've never heard of that but I suppose it would be better.

I had no clue. The only person I've ever seen make a salad was my mother. She would rinse the lettuce and then throw it in the salad bowl. Of course, she also only used iceberg lettuce and the only other veggies we had were frozen peas and corn.
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#13 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 04:39 PM
 
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Shake it really well over the sink, then lay it on either a flour sack or waffle weave towel, roll the towel up and stick it in the fridge.

Honestly though, I just bought a salad spinner, even though I'm trying to limit plastic... ultimately it saves me a fair bit of time and effort.

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#14 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 04:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cranberry View Post
I put it on a dish towel, roll it up and press. Then I put the lettuce in a dry dish towel and place it in the refrigerator to get crisp.
And I don't wash the towel after, just let it dry. Its only water.

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#15 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by SoHappy View Post
I'd love to know how you avoid plastic completely. Do you not buy bread, cereal, crackers, cheese, yogurt or other packaged foods? No shampoo, dishsoap, rubbing alcohol, etc?
It is impossible (imo) to completely avoid plastics. The computer I am typing on has plastic components. But when it comes to my kitchen, I do try to be as close to 100% plastic free as possible.

As for the other items listed, I don't always hit it perfect but I try to make my own bread and yogurt. I try to avoid cereal (for reasons other than plastic) but I do end up purchasing some things that come in plastic. When I do so, I make sure it is a plastic that can be recycled in our recycling (they only take numbers 1 and 2) and I try to buy in bulk or buy concentrated items so as to not have to buy more plastic than possible.

I am not completely opposed to a salad spinner but I was intered in an alternative if one was available. If I buy one, I will be searching for one that is BPA free, etc. if anyone knows of any.

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#16 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 05:44 PM
 
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I blot our lettuce dry with a dish towel.

mommy to ds 11/05, dd1 01/08, and dd2 01/10!
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#17 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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I usually just give it a good shake and then let it dry in the colander while I'm making the rest of our dinner. If I need it quickly, like for a sandwhich, I'll dry the few leaves of lettuce off with a clean dishtowel. Our salad spinner broke a couple years ago and I just never got around to buying a new one. I haven't really missed it.

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#18 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 08:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SoHappy View Post
I'd love to know how you avoid plastic completely. Do you not buy bread, cereal, crackers, cheese, yogurt or other packaged foods? No shampoo, dishsoap, rubbing alcohol, etc?

For your lettuce, you can put it in a pillowcase and swing it around. That's the original salad spinner. But really, a little mindfully purchased plastic that serves a purpose like this isn't going to destroy the universe and won't put your food at risk. Unlike the many single-use items listed above, this one will last and serve a purpose. If you buy one used at a thrift shop or yard sale, you're not creating new impact.
I use my salad spinner. It works great, and it's sligtly entertaining.

I am not going to buy into the plastic hysteria completely. I already owned the spinner. Throwing is away creates waste, and it's very pretty. (yellow)
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#19 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 08:55 PM
 
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start earlier and leave it out to dry on a tea towel after washing. Flip after the top is dry.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#20 of 35 Old 05-03-2008, 10:39 PM
 
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Originally Posted by StrawberryFields View Post
I blot our lettuce dry with a dish towel.
:

Then I let the towel dry, it goes on to become a hand towel, or to dry dishes. The lettuce is organic and if I washed it well enough I figure all that is on the towel is water anyway. Or I'll just throw a salad together in a hurry and have damp lettuce.
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#21 of 35 Old 05-04-2008, 12:43 PM
 
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Flour Sacks and Bar Mops are a green girl's best kitchen friends.

Not advocating buying from here, necessarily, but it's a link with pix of both on the same page:

http://www.emerilstore.com/prodinfo.asp?number=45EW906

Found some organic ones:

http://www.kaboodle.com/reviews/25-p...-towel-sets-10
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#22 of 35 Old 05-04-2008, 06:30 PM
 
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I wash it and give it a little shake and pat it with a towel.

I saw a product called salad sac that looks interesting.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#23 of 35 Old 05-04-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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I blot our lettuce dry with a dish towel.
:
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#24 of 35 Old 05-04-2008, 08:24 PM
 
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I put it in a towel, take the four corners and close it up like a sack. Then I take it outside and splash the kids with it. Then, of course, they want to do it to. They like to see who can make the water drops go the farthest.

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#25 of 35 Old 05-04-2008, 08:28 PM
 
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I put it in a metal colander and let it drain onto cloth towels for a few minutes before making it into salad. But then I don't mind wet lettuce, and I've never owned or used a salad spinner (nor have I ever taken the time to dry individual leaves with a paper OR cloth towel.)

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#26 of 35 Old 05-04-2008, 10:19 PM
 
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Keep a pillow case in the kitchen for such jobs. This is how they did it before the "plastic" days. Put the lettuce in the pillow case, and give the old rotator cuff a good work out.

Nobody is plastic free, SoHappy, so don't feel like you need to aspire to that lofty goal. It is perhaps more accurate for people to say, "I try to reduce the plastic that comes in contact with my food."
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#27 of 35 Old 05-04-2008, 10:37 PM
 
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When I need to do lots of lettuce I use a mesh bag. I think it's the one my DH uses for home brewing.
Usually, I just use a salad spinner. We've had salad a lot more often since I got that.
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#28 of 35 Old 05-04-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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When I was a kid, we had a metal basket on a chain, and one took it outside and spun it around. I got the impression that the basket had been around for a good long while, though, and I don't think I've seen one since.

I love my salad spinner.
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#29 of 35 Old 05-04-2008, 10:50 PM
 
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Silly question here, if there's no prolonged contact and no heat, what's supposed to happen if plastic touches food?

ETA: Okay, still curious, but in closer reading I see that the OP doesn't already have a salad spinner she's trying to get rid of.
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#30 of 35 Old 05-04-2008, 11:06 PM
 
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I love the mesh basket spinning outside. Great idea. I've done the pillow case for large amounts of lettuce (for parties).

I always dry my lettuce-- otherwise the lovely little crinkly leaves can't hold onto the olive oil. Anything you add to it (hebrs etc) just get soggy, diluted and tateless. Any delicate oil just slides right off. Dry lettuce allows for the sublte flavors of a bit of dressing and spices to be maintained. Salad geek that I am. hehe
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