ChouAmi: A New Jar-Top Fermentation Device

parts of a ChouAmi

ChouAmi parts

I am so mechanically inept that I have never been able to figure out the Kraut Source fermentation device—an expensive thing ($30!) made up of several stainless-steel parts that somehow fit together on top of a standard American mason jar. I was just as bemused when I received in the mail a ChouAmi fermentation device, which is nearly exactly like the Kraut Source device except that the ChouAmi version fits on a straight-sided, 1-liter Le Parfait jar. Such a jar was included in the package, but instructions were not.

The jar and all the stainless-steel pieces sat on the kitchen counter for months. Occasionally I would examine them and try fitting them together. Enlightenment alluded me. Then I decided use a big daikon and an Egyptian walking onion, before it went to seed, to make some kakdooki.* I looked at the Le Parfait jar. It appeared to be just about the right size to hold my big daikon. It was time to try out the ChouAmi.

Kakdooki is Korean-style fermented radish cubes, flavored with ground red pepper, green onions, garlic, sometimes ginger, and often fish sauce or tiny brined shrimp or both. This is one fermented pickle that I never bother to weight, because the seasonings seem to prevent any yeast or mold growth. Regardless, I would use my fancy new device. I mixed the radish cubes and seasonings, dropped them into the jar, and pressed down the mixture with my fingers. It fit perfectly, with just an inch or so of headspace.

trough, spring, and plateI picked up the ChouAmi pieces, and suddenly I knew exactly how they fit together. I placed the main piece on top of the jar and screwed the ring over it. Then I turned the loop in the center of the main piece. This released a spring attached to a perforated plate sized to fit perfectly in the jar (this main piece is actually three; they come apart for cleaning). The plate pressed against the vegetables, while liquid rose over it. I set the dome on top.

adding the domeOnly hours later did it occur to me that the dome wasn’t meant to keep out dust. It was sitting in a trough. So I filled the trough with water. Now I had an airlock! Carbon dioxide could escape under the dome, through the water, but oxygen couldn’t get in.

What an elaborately clever device! No wonder the price was so high.

Actually, though, I don’t know the price of a ChouAmi. The company is still getting started, through a Kickstarter campaign. The company website needs work; I couldn’t get the instructional video to play.

fermenting kakdookiSo I’m afraid that if you head to your local kitchenware store today you won’t find the ChouAmi. But the store is probably closed, anyway. So, wait until the danger of the corona virus eases, and then keep your eyes open for the ChouAmi. If you’re happy to make most of your vegetable ferments in a 1-liter jar, this device may prove to be a bon ami indeed.

 

*Green Egyptian walking onions are sweeter and milder than scallions.

About Linda Ziedrich

I grow, cook, preserve, and write about food in Oregon's Willamette Valley.
This entry was posted in Fermented foods, Pickles, Preserving science, Vegetables and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to ChouAmi: A New Jar-Top Fermentation Device

  1. Shae says:

    I’ve been enjoying seeing more frequent posts from you, Linda! I haven’t done much fermenting, but this little device is making me want to give it a try.

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  2. Randal Oulton says:

    I received one of those kits too, I must use it. It arrived just before we went to England for a month, and then just after we got back the world started turning upside down with COVID-19, so it got moved down to a shelf in the basement…. I had no idea what to use it on, too small for the batches of sauerkraut I do. I found your Kakdooki recipe on page 79 of your most recent “Joy of Pickling”, so I think I’ll try that, too!

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  3. Randal, in the batch I made with the ChouAmi I made a quarter of the “diced radish kimchi” recipe in Maangchi’s Big Book of Korean Cooking. Her recipe includes both fish sauce (or soy sauce) and tiny brined shrimp.I included brined shrimp as well as apple in my recipe on page 80, but not fish sauce. I think the fish sauce rounds out the flavor nicely.

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