Person using a salad spinner

How to Prepare Beans Quickly Using a Salad Spinner

If you’re a fan of cooking with dried beans, you know they’re a tastier and budget-friendly option. However, prepping them can sometimes feel like a chore, especially when it comes to cleaning and sorting. Dried beans often contain small stones or debris that you certainly don’t want to end up in your meal. But here’s a trick: Instead of laboriously picking through the legumes by hand, use a salad spinner to make the process more efficient.

Start by placing your dried beans in the salad spinner’s basket. Fill it with enough water to cover the beans, then give them a gentle swish to loosen and remove any dirt clinging to the beans. You’ll notice that the lightweight debris, such as shriveled beans or bits of husk, will float to the top. Skim these off and discard them. Next, lift the basket. Any heavier debris, like pebbles or bits of soil, will have sunk to the bottom and remain in the bottom of the bowl. This makes it super easy to discard them without losing any beans. Repeat this process several times until the water runs clear, ensuring your beans are perfectly clean.

Next comes the soaking step, which helps soften and reduce cooking time. After the initial wash and debris removal, fill the spinner with fresh water and let the beans soak in it. When it’s time to drain the soak water, simply lift out the strainer basket and transfer the beans into the cooking pot.

Use the salad spinner for canned beans too

Canned beans in a tin

This salad spinner hack isn’t only limited to prepping dried beans; you can use it with your canned beans, too. These canned versions are a convenient option when short on time. Since they often come with a starchy, thick liquid, most cooks prefer to rinse them off before use. Here’s where the efficiency of a salad spinner comes in.

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To start, empty your can of beans into the salad spinner’s basket and fill it with water to rinse them. Then, just like with dried beans, lift the basket. The water will drain away, leaving your beans perfectly rinsed. This helps to remove the canning liquid, which often contains excess sodium and can alter the flavor of your beans. Rinsing also helps to reduce the slippery coating associated with canned beans, making them acquire a better texture.

After rinsing, give the spinner a few good pumps to remove excess water, leaving the beans moist but not dripping wet. This step is particularly useful if you’re adding the beans to salads or other dishes where extra liquid could be a problem. So, next time you prepare dried or canned beans, remember this handy tool for a hassle-free experience.

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