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Chinois Particle Cleaning

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If you have ever made a multi-step soup or custard and strained it through an ultra fine screen kitchen sieve, called a Chinois, you have probably been frustrated by the clean up afterward. While the soups, custards and broths you can create using a high quality chinois can be sublime, the clean up isn’t.

Recently I made a lovely, creamed, smoked tomato soup; the second to the last step involved straining the solids by pressing the precious flavor through the chinois into a pan. We don’t have great water pressure in our kitchen sink and after thoroughly pressing cooked vegetables against the micro screen, the little bits of food got lodged in the side. It can be challenging to remove the stubborn small bits from the sieve, even if you rinse it right away.

Chinois with stand


It was during one such frustrating cleaning experience this summer, I had a brain storm of sorts. I took the chinois outside and turned my garden hose on it. I have one of those adjustable head nozzles on my hose and rotated the dial to the sharp stream setting. With the water on full force, I blasted the stubborn food bits right out of there. I took care to anchor the chinois by the handle to keep it from scooting away on the patio. I know, this a very guy thing to do, but let me tell you, that was one clean chinois when I was finished.

Some of you more experience cooks may ask, “Why don’t you use cheese cloth in the chinois?” I find that when passing multiple batches of pureed soup or stock through a strainer, using cheese cloth becomes more of a hassle than a help. Maybe I am not doing it correctly, but I tend to skip the cheese cloth when straining.

Somewhere, I hear Tim Allen grunting his manly approval. 🙂


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3 Responses to “Chinois Particle Cleaning”

  1. KitchenBoy

    @Kathryn – I use a pestle of sorts with the chinois, but not one that was “made for it” by the company. I most often use the back of a sturdy spoon or silicone topped spatula to press the last bits of flavorful juices out of the strained solids.

    As for the being careful part, if you are using a fine sieve chinois, like the one highlighted in the article, you should not have problems with solids passing through even when pressing. Super fine sediment *may* appear in/on the sides, particularly with very soft fruits or vegetables, but if you resist the urge to scrap it into the liquid there shouldn’t be a problem. I have never had tomato skins and seeds won’t pass through, the mesh is simply too fine. I normally use mine for broths, stocks and custards, so the solids are more coarse. There have been times when I have strained a stock through cheese cloth to increase the clarity, but that is a rare occurance.

    The add-on I most appreciate is the 3-leg stand that I bought to help support the chinois over a pan or bowl – so helpful.

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks for reading

  2. Kathryn

    hahaha…thanks for tip! I’ve held off on buying a chinois—there’s not that much info online from people who actually use one.

    Question: do you use a pestle with it? If so, did yours come with the chinois or did you have to purchase it separately? In other words, what do you use to press whatever it is you’re straining?

    Also, do you have to be careful not to press too hard? Is it possible to force bits—I’m thinking tomato skins or seeds—through the mesh?

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