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I'm cooking a bunch of spinach for making a spinach and ricotta filling. I need to get as much water as possible out of the spinach, and I'd prefer not to make a big mess in the process. In the past, I've wrapped a few handfuls at a time in a towel and squeezed out the liquid. This leaves me with a messy, green stained towel and requires a lot of twisting that doesn't seem maximally effective.

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8 Answers 8

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Use a potato ricer. Just fill it up with a big handful of spinach, and give it a good squeeze in the sink, or over a bowl if you like to drink spinach water. It extracts a ton of liquid quickly, and is a breeze to clean up when you are done.

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This is my first time asking a question that I already have an answer for, and immediately answering it. The FAQ and discussion on meta, and the linked discussion on MSO all say it is roundly encouraged, so I thought I'd give it a shot. (And not to say that there aren't other possible answers - love to hear them). –  Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 1 '10 at 6:08
While it encouraged it's also encouraged to give others a shot at your question first! However, I think your suggestion is creative enough to not create any issues about this ;-) BTW: Could you edit in an image of a Potato Ricer, because for non-native Englishmen it's not obvious right away! –  Ivo Flipse Sep 1 '10 at 8:03
Actually the lead answer on MSO says not to wait (meta.stackexchange.com/questions/17845/…). I've added a link to a potato ricer in the post, good suggestion. –  Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 1 '10 at 14:28
@Michael: He was referring to an image in your answer. The potato ricer link doesn't make sense in the question. Sam H already added a link to wikipedia in your answer here. –  hobodave Sep 1 '10 at 14:52
@Michael: for the record, I don't think you need to give others a shot. –  hobodave Sep 1 '10 at 14:52

The important part is to work in small batches. I just use my hands -- grab a handful, squeeze, set it aside, grab another handful, etc.

Most things that you'd be tempted to use just have too large of holes, and let lots of spinach bits through, (and I admit, I miss some spinach as I start getting towards the end and it's mostly water), or they've got too small of holes that it's serious effort to use, and you have to work in small batches anyway.

So, if nothing else, my way leaves you with only your hands to wash, and no extra gear to buy.

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I have used this method as well, and it does work. The main downside for me is that you can't do it while the spinach is still hot. As far as the holes go, I thought the potato ricer was going to clog too much, but it turned out to be a non-issue. You can use so much pressure it gets a great extraction, and if it does clog a little, you just knock it once on the sink and you are back in business. –  Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 1 '10 at 15:22
@Michael: you process the spinich hot? I just microwave it 'til it's thawed, then squeeze it. (I never cook fresh spinich ... frozen blocks of cooked spinich store easily, and is cheap, so I never see the point of buying spinich just to cook it down) –  Joe Sep 1 '10 at 20:49
I'm speaking of frozen spinach too, but I don't think you get maximum juice extraction unless you get it all the way hot first, to break down the cells. I like the spinach in my fillings to be as dry as humanly possible. –  Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 2 '10 at 21:31

I learned this from Rachael Ray - use a clean (no fabric softener) cloth. Put spinach in small batches & squeeze. Works great. I use a never before used diaper. use it to squeeze moisture out of shredded zucchini too. After done, I soak the cloth in bleach water to remove the green stain then rinse the bleach out.

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I use two identical plates. On one plate you can put the spinach and with the bottom of the other plate you can squeeze out the liquid.

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Salad spinner (centrifuge) for a non-destructive method?

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can also be done while spinach is still hot (beware if spinner is plastic, though) –  kajaco Sep 1 '10 at 15:59
I've never tried this, but in my imaginary world I wouldn't think this would remove very much of the water. Salad spinners are good at removing surface water but not squeezing it out of the leaves. –  Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 1 '10 at 19:41
True, no squeezing involved, so it won't get as dry as you might want. Result will be somewhere between sitting in a sieve and pressing, I imagine. –  Tobias Op Den Brouw Sep 2 '10 at 7:18

I use a sieve that can hang over the sink.

Put the spinach in the sieve. On top of the spinach put a solid bowl, and in the bowl goes some weight. I generally use whatever dry stuff I have lying around, which is normally lentils. You can use blind baking thingies if you have them.

Wait for about 15 minutes.

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This method works well for pre-chopped frozen spinach which I find contains excessive amounts of water once defrosted. I use a ladle to force the water out. Most other methods mentioned on this page work best when you blanch your own spinach and before chopping. –  Chris Steinbach Sep 1 '10 at 20:13

Potato ricer, pure genius whoever posted that suggestion. Use the small hole plate. You can take the frozen spinach, water it down to defrost, then immediately put it in the ricer and squeeze it dry a good cupful at a time. This is the best, shortest way I've ever seen to dry frozen spinach, and it is drier than I've ever been able to achieve using my hands or paper towels.

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I've most recently used a lemon juice squeezer and it worked perfectly! One of these http://www.cajuncookingtv.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/lemon-squeezer.jpg

Works a treat!

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