We don’t have a lot of storage space so adding accessories to our kitchen is a activity that we do sparingly. I had avoided buying a Chinois for a long time before I finally gave in. After owning it for a few months, I can’t remember how I functioned without it.
A Chinois is a sieve made of fine mesh. The fine mesh is a critical component of a chinois; conical strainers with larger holes are typically referred to as a “China Cap.”
Though the picture makes scale difficult to see, my Chinois is about 12 inches tall and 8-10 wide. Because it’s made of metal it can be used to strain liquids of any temperature and I’ve even used it to blanch vegetables fora few seconds.
The biggest use Ive had for it (so far) is for fermenting. It’s allowed me to strain solids (such as chunks of ginger) from ferments as well as to strain the occasional brine that develops a slight mould on its surface. It’s also been very useful for soups and I love the size which allows for straining of a large amount of liquid as well as allowing maximum drainage.
The shape drives the liquid to the bottom when you’re straining it; even if the Chinois is turned horizontally, it’s very easy to predict where the strained liquid will pour from which prevents messes and makes it easier to work with. In the past I would spend 10-15 minutes straining liquid in a small strainer (most of that time was waiting for the liquid to drain before adding more); this allows me to gently pour it in and walk away until complete.
I store it by hanging it on a large hook on our wall.
What is one difficult-to-store tool do you have in your kitchen that you won’t give up?