**Update 2015 – Dexas has discontinued this salad spinner model, much to my chagrin. I’m glad I was able to get my hands on one before they stopped manufacturing them. I remain a big fan of its effectiveness in drying lettuce and herbs better than any salad spinner I have used to date.
The company has moved to a collapsible version, based on what they said customers wanted. I have never personally been a fan of collapsible salad spinners, but I guess some do actually like them.
In essence, the top fan portion that generates the turbine effect is the same, it’s now mounted on a more storage friendly base.
I haven’t tested the new model, but if you are in the market for a collapsible salad spinner, head on over to the Dexas online store and check it out.
The Turbo Fan Salad Spinner from Dexas is the best update to the salad spinner I have seen in some time. Salad spinners are a relatively new product for the home cook and while there is some debate concerning their usefulness, you will see that they do serve a valid purpose.
Salad Spinner History
In the late 19th century, a collapsible wire basket was used to remove water from freshly washed lettuce leaves. It was operated by loading the basket with wet lettuce, stepping outside and spinning it around in a circular motion. At that time there was no refrigerated shipping or storage, so lettuce was only eaten in season when it was warm enough to comfortably step outside. This original salad spinner also assumes you had enough room to swing your arms around without hitting anything and that you didn’t mind water spraying all over.
Modern salad spinner designs were patented in the early 1970s and allowed the tool to be used indoors with no water showers. The concept that most all of them follow is simple. A solid outer bowl houses an inner bowl that resembles a colander or straining basket both of which are topped by a cover which houses the spinning device assembly.
The greens are washed in the slotted inner bowl and placed in the outer bowl; the lid is placed on top and the spinning mechanism is operated to spin the inner bowl forcing the water through the slits via centrifugal force. You then remove the inner bowl and use your now nearly dry lettuce.
The salad spinner mechanism varies from company to company, some using a crank handle, some push buttons and others a rip cord. Typically the entire device is made from plastic, except for models that use a pull cord, although I recently saw a salad spinner with a steel body.
The obvious purpose of a salad spinner is to remove as much water from the leaves as possible. Why you might ask? There are two good reasons, one of safety, the other practical.
Safety – Listeria and E. coli are known to be more prevalent in unwashed salads and proper washing will help reduce the risk of food poisoning. Removing as much water as possible through force will eliminate much of the harmful and annoying things like dirt and bugs. Who wants a gritty, buggy salad anyway?
Practical – A wet lettuce or spinach leaf will not allow your carefully chosen extra virgin olive oil to stick to the leaf. It will slide off and pool at the bottom of the plate or bowl. Your careful efforts at constructing a flavorful salad will come up short and taste bland.
I know what some of you are saying, “Why can’t I dry the lettuce with paper or linen towels?”
You certainly can use paper towels to dry your lettuce, but if one eats a salad daily or nearly everyday, you will be using quite a bit of costly paper towels and creating unnecessary waste.
Linen or cloth towels can be used, but a large amount of wet lettuce can soak a towel and still not be dry enough to apply dressing.
Anecdotally, I read about two lettuce drying “hacks” which involve a pillow case. The first is manual: you put the lettuce in the pillow case, close the open end and swing your arm in circles to force the water into the cloth material. The second involves clamping the pillow case shut and putting it into an electric dryer set on a non-heated spin cycle. All of this to avoid what some view as a bulky, difficult to store kitchen tool.
I am not crazy about either of these options myself, nor am I certain how this is supposed to be easier, but they have been mentioned as methods to dry lettuce so I wanted to share them with you.
Dexas Turbo Salad Spinner
I noted at the top of this article that the Dexas Turbo Salad Spinner is one of the best recent updates. Let’s look at how their’s is different and see if you agree that it is an improvement.
First, like the others, the spinner gearing can be stopped manually using a compression brake on the lid. Unlike conventional salad spinners that use centrifugal force only, the DEXAS turbo fan spinner also adds large volumes of air to actually blow water off greens and vegetables.
The “Turbo Fan” lever spinning handle reaches a high speed quickly and effortlessly engaging the fan with every spin cycle to pull air in and push water out of the basket. There are louvered openings along the top rim which draw in the air which is then forced over the greens or herbs via the fan attached to the lid.
In another unique design the water isn’t caught inside a solid bowl, but rather pushed out through four openings along the base of the salad spinner. This allows dirt, germs and insects to be kept off the food. Closed bowl salad spinners can often splash unwanted water or debris back onto the lettuce inside.
Obviously this open design means you probably don’t want to use the Dexas Turbo Salad Spinner on top of the counter, unless of course you really wanted to spray yourself and the surrounding area with water. You will need to spin the greens inside your kitchen sink to avoid the mess. The hand crank is top mounted so you can create the high powered spin without smacking your hand or arm on the side walls.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that the Turbo Salad Spinner is really powerful. When you start rotating the handle on top, you immediately feel the fan spin. It not only whips the water out of the bowl, but you can literally hear and feel the air circulation created by the gears of the salad spinner.
So now the question, “Does it work better than other salad spinners?” Yes.
I set up side by side tests with other brand name spinners to see which one spun off more water from the lettuce. During the tests, I weighed out equal amounts of lettuce, washed them under the faucet and shook each slotted basked for the same amount of time before placing them into their respective spinners.
After spinning each salad spinner as fast and thoroughly as I could, I measured the amount of water from the bowl. For the Dexas salad spinner, I had to place it inside a larger bowl to collect the water as it spun from the base.
The results consistently showed that the Dexas Turbo Salad Spinner removed twice the amount of water as the other brands. Typically the Dexas removed 50 – 60ml of water, while the others only removed 20 – 30ml. This means that the Dexas salad spinner removed an additional 2 tablespoons of water from the lettuce over its competition.
That amount may not seem like much, but remember, that water will dilute the flavor of your salad dressing. Also consider that you can use salad spinners for rinsing herbs and imagine that excess water ending up in your pesto or pasta sauce affecting the taste and texture of those dishes.
No salad spinner will remove 100% of all the water from lettuce or herbs, but the Dexas Turbo Fan Salad Spinner will remove more than any I have tested so far.
Care & Cleaning
Like the other salad spinners on the market, the Dexas model allows you to put the inner and outer bowls in the dishwasher. The fan blade can be easily unclamped from the underside of the lid for a thorough cleaning by hand. The fan gearing is held in place by a metal screw that might rust with repeated runs through the dishwasher.
The Dexas Turbo Fan is a large salad spinner, 5qt capacity bowl, but I find this perfect. When we eat salads, we often eat large salads for our entire meal and being able to wash all the lettuce I need for both of us makes life so much easier.
And when I wash herbs for pesto or herb heavy recipes, I typically use large amounts so having the space to wash them all at once is great. Even if you use only a small amount of herbs, the slots on the inner basket are small enough to prevent most whole leaf herbs from slipping through into the outer bowl area.
It retails for $29.99 which is in line with most other comparable models, but given the improved capabilities, it is a pretty good value.
The Dexas Turbo Fan Salad Spinner is my new my new salad spinner. I will be passing my other model onto a friend.
You can buy the Dexas Turbo Fan Salad Spinner at Sur La Table, both in store and online or you can go to the Dexas online store and buy it directly from them. It is now available on at many retailers including Bed Bath and Beyond.
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