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Canning -- Pickled and Fermented Foods

Can I pickle beans, corn, and salt in an ice cream freezer container instead of in a glass or pottery crock?

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One can safely dry salt beans and corn to preserve them. The purpose of dry salting is to allow for fermentation of the beans and corn so that they become acidic enough to prevent the growth of spoilage as well as harmful bacteria. Hence, they are preserved for long-term storage.. During fermentation as acid is formed, the acid could cause some leaching of the plastic from the ice cream freezer container. Leaching usually takes time and given the fact that the fermentation takes at least 10 days there is sufficient time for leaching to take place. Ice cream containers are food-grade. Therefore, if the "leached" plastic should get into the food, it should not be harmful to eat. However, I do not know what effect the "leached" plastic would have on the flavor of the pickled product. To result in a high quality product, use glass containers (which are inert so cannot react with acid) or unglazed crocks (glazed crocks might contain lead which could leach into the pickled beans and corn). Also remind the individual that after the fermentation is complete (about 10 days) the pickled beans and corn should be heat processed in a boiling water bath (pints for 25 minutes and quarts for 30 minutes). This will prevent mold and yeast growth.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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