Frequently Asked Questions
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1. What is ChouAmi?
ChouAmi™ is a unique and simple fermentation device which fits onto a beautiful and durable French-made glass jar by Le Parfait. It is an easy and elegant way to make your own sauerkraut or pickles at home in small batches. The stainless steel unit is dishwasher safe and easy to use. You can learn more about us here.
2. How does ChouAmi work?
It's easy! Watch this video that visually explains how to assemble ChouAmi.
3. I have a Ball or Kerr mason jar. Can I use that?
No. ChouAmi only works with the Le Parfait Familia Wiss Terrine Mason Jar and the Le Parfait Screw Top Jar with a 100mm diameter opening. It DOES NOT work with US-made Ball or Kerr brand mason jars.
4. Why should I eat fermented foods?
Fermented foods, especially lacto-fermented foods, contain lactobacilli cultures that are the original probiotics. Our ancestors lived on such foods until the onset of sterilization/pasteurization. The lactobacilli strains keep our digestion and immune systems healthy. We need the good bacteria to play a part in our immuno-defense against harmful pathogens. We recommend eating ⅓ cup of fermented foods with each meal.
5. Is it safe to ferment with metal?
Stainless steel is extremely safe to use to ferment. In fact, wine makers and commercial live-cultured kraut makers use stainless steel vats for fermentation.
6. What kind of water should I use?
The purest and freshest water is optimal. Municipal water which contains fluoride, chloride, or chloramine, is not good for fermentation. If your local water system contains these chemicals, then it’s important to get a good filtration system that can remove them. We recommend Radiant Life for a selection of quality water filtration systems.
7. What kind of salt should I use?
Our preference is Celtic Sea Salt, but any high-quality sea salt is good to use. Stay away from table salt because it’s devoid of minerals and contains additives. Besides, table salt simply tastes salty without the subtle, complex flavors of sea salt. Sea salt also provides trace minerals, which help to balance the sodium/potassium osmotic gradient of our cells. If you can't find sea salt, Himalayan Pink Salt and Redmond Real Salt are ok.
8. How much salt and water do I use for the brine?
You can get very technical here and look at ratios in percentage, but we encourage the simple method of using about 1 teaspoon (5 ml) sea salt to 1 cup (240 ml) filtered water. Salt dissolves more evenly in hot water. Let cool before using.
9. What's the deal with the silicone gasket?
The silicone gasket helps create a tighter seal between ChouAmi and the jar to prevent oxygen from going in the jar. We recommend removing and cleaning the inside once in a while to prevent residue from building up underneath the gasket.
10. What’s the best temperature for fermenting?
Preferably between 70-75 degrees F (21-24 degrees C); below 50 degrees F (10 degrees C) is too cold for the cultures to develop. Keep your ferments out of direct sunlight. Transfer the jar to the refrigerator when it’s done.
11. How long do I need to ferment vegetables?
That depends on what you’re fermenting. Minimum should be 6 days. We recommend at least 7 days for cabbage-based ferments. Traditionally, cabbage was left to ferment in big crocks for weeks, even months; however, a small batch requires less time. Your ferments can be left to develop for as long as 4 weeks or longer. Although the longer fermentation period doesn’t necessarily confer more beneficial bacteria, it does help the foods develop a deeper flavor. Sample fermentation time: Sauerkraut: 10-12 days Kimchi: 10-12 days Real pickles: 7-10 days Cauliflower-based: 10-12 days Salsa: 5-6 days Fruit-based: 5-6 days Please be aware that even after the ferments have been transferred to the refrigerator, the flavor will continue to slowly change and develop.
12. How do I know when my ferment is done?
Your ferment is typically done anywhere between 6 to 10 days. After this point, it’s a matter of personal taste. To taste your ferment, follow these steps: 1) Unfasten the ring and remove the cap and moat 2) Lift up the press/spring 3) Use a clean fork or chopsticks to remove a small portion, and taste 4) If you're satisfied with the taste, replace with the Le Parfait sealing cap and screw lid, and transfer to the refrigerator 5) If you want a deeper flavor, put the press/spring back in the jar, secure the moat, ring, and cap, and continue fermenting at room temperature.
13. The brine is overflowing into the moat and making a mess on my kitchen counter. Help!
This usually happens with vegetables that contain a lot of water, such as fresh cabbage. Simply remove ChouAmi, pour off any excess brine, and replace the unit again. Rinse the moat and fill with water (not brine). To help catch excess brine, we recommend setting the jar on a shallow dish or plate before fermenting. To prevent overflow: When making sauerkraut, massage salt into the shredded cabbage, and pack into the mason jar with other ingredients such as spices. Allow the mixture to ferment for 24 hours without adding any brine. If there is enough liquid released by the salted cabbage to cover the top of the vegetables by 1.5 inches (3.75 cm) after 24 hours, then no additional brine is necessary. Note on kimchi: As Napa cabbage releases a lot of water, keep an eye on your kimchi during the first 24 - 48 hours. There should be about 1.5 inches (3.75 cm) of liquid above the top of the vegetables, so pour off excess if it looks like it will over flow.
14. There is no water in the moat. What do I do?
The water in your moat will evaporate over time, especially if your fermenting room is humid. Always make sure to fill the moat 2/3 of the way up and top off every couple of days as needed. If your moat is completely empty, it's possible that some water have been sucked into the cap. Tilt the cap gently to release the water.
15. My brine looks murky. Is something wrong?
It’s ok if your brine looks murky. It doesn’t mean something is wrong. Brine will turn murky as a natural result of fermentation and from minerals in the sea salt. Some ferments such as pickles and cauliflower tend to produce a murky brine.
16. What if I see mold? Is it unsafe to eat?
If you see that the top of the brine has developed a fuzzy or lumpy matter that's green, pink, or grey, something has gone wrong with your ferment. Compost the contents and start over. If the jar smells rotten or sulfuric, leave it open for 10 minutes; it might clear itself up. If it doesn't, compost the contents and start over. If the substance is soft white, it could be kahm, which is a natural yeast that's a byproduct of fermentation. It's harmless and you can just scrape it off.
17. I want to open my jar but it’s stuck. Help!
This may be because the ring was fastened on too tightly on the jar. Wrap a soft kitchen towel around the ring for more leverage, and rotate the ring and the jar in opposing directions. For your next batch, fasten the ring on the jar only until when you lift the ring, the whole unit stays in place. A rubber oven mitt can be helpful with extra tight ring.
18. How do I wash ChouAmi?
Warm water and gentle soap are all that's needed. All parts of ChouAmi are also dishwasher safe. We do recommend removing the gasket off the moat before washing the unit in the dishwasher. Make sure all parts are thoroughly dry before storing them away.
19. Where do you ship?
We can ship to anywhere in the world from Illinois, USA.
20. How much is shipping?
For destinations in the continental US, shipping is $10 maximum on orders less than $75, and FREE for orders over $75. Please refer to our Shipping Policy for full details.
21. Do I have to pay taxes?
State and local sales tax is added to orders shipping to California and Illinois, USA.
22. There's an issue with my order. What do I do?
Please refer to our Refund Policy for more details.
23. Where can I buy a ChouAmi in person?
When ChouAmi is available to purchase in person, we'll post locations on our website. Please sign up for our mailing list at the bottom of the page to receive updates.
24. I'm a retailer, can I buy ChouAmi for wholesale?
Yes! We've partnered with Faire, an awesome online marketplace for retailers to bring you quality products for your business. Find out more here.
25. I’m a journalist/blogger/member of the media and I want to review ChouAmi. Who do I contact?
Email our media team here.