It is hard to not get addicted once you start making something.
It is a simple, fascinating way to create new flavors and dimensions to ordinary ingredients, and it can completely transform your cooking.
As you get more involved in this hobby, you will want to scale up your ferments into larger and specialized containers.
To say nothing of wooden wine or pickle barrels can be expensive, but large glass containers. Is it possible to ferment in a plastic container?
Yes! You can ferment it in plastic bottles. However, make sure to use food-grade containers and ensure all air holes have been plugged.
Table of Contents
Is It Possible To Use Plastic Containers for Fermentation?
The organisms responsible for the process of fermentation can live in a plastic container like any other material. For several reasons, plastic is not preferred for fermentation.
Difficulty of Cleaning
Generally speaking, it is easier to clean and sterilize smooth, nonporous materials like glass.
Prone to Staining
Plastic may retain odors after it has been fermented.
It is important to cultivate the bacteria you want and to prevent the bacteria you don’t want.
The quality of your ferments may be affected by the small scratches and scuffs on the plastic that can trap and hold unwanted bacteria.
Depending on the type of plastic it is, it may contain chemicals that aren’t good for you.
When liquids are very acidic, warm, or stored for a long period, these chemicals may degrade and enter your ferments.
If You Must Use Plastic
If you want to ferment in a plastic container, here are some important things to consider.
Choose Food-Grade Plastic
Avoid plastic mixed with BPA or BHA. You need to choose HDPE, LDPE, polypropylene, or polycarbonate.
If you want to avoid scratching the surface of the plastic containers, you should clean them with gentle, nonabrasive cleaners.
There are small dents and scratches on the surface of plastic containers that can facilitate the colonization of bacteria.
Sterilize Between Uses
It is important to remember that cleaning and sterilizing are not the same thing. It’s a good idea to avoid soaking plastic containers in a solution that degrades the plastic.
If you want to spray plastic containers with a 70% isopropyl alcohol solution, soak them in a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution for 15 minutes.
You can ferment foods in high-quality plastic if you clean and sterilize them correctly.
Is It Possible To Make Sauerkraut in a Plastic Bucket?
If you don’t have a traditional earthenware container, a plastic bucket is an excellent choice for sauerkraut.
Make sure that your bucket is made of food-grade plastic, has a sturdy construction, and has an air-tight lid.
A plastic bag inside the bucket is a great way to ensure that the cabbage remains submerged in the brine and that no air is allowed into the fermentation process.
Is It Possible To Ferment Pickles in Plastic?
Like sauerkraut, earthenware is traditional and should never be used for sauerkraut. A food-grade plastic container is a better alternative.
It’s usually necessary to weigh them down because of the amount of brine they need to be covered with.
If you want to keep your plastic container submerged in the brine, make sure it’s large enough to hold a plate, weight, jar, or something else.
A plastic bag is an alternative to a plastic container if it isn’t the right size for a plate or weight.
Pickling brine can be placed inside a bag made of food-grade plastic and sealed tightly. The bag of brine should be used as a weight to hold the pickles down.
The bag is loose and flexible, so it can fit in a variety of containers, and you can fill it with brine to protect your ferment from punctures or leaks.
Is It Possible To Ferment Kimchi in Plastic?
Maangchi makes kimchi in a plastic container in her Easy-to-Make Kimchi recipe, which Sharp observers may note.
If you make kimchi in a plastic container, it will smell like it for the rest of your life.
The smell of kimchi doesn’t mix with other foods, so most people dedicate a specific set of containers for it.
It is important to leave enough room in the container for the kimchi to be made.
If you leave the lid on the container partially open, the gasses will escape and the fridge will smell like kimchi.
Many Koreans use a dedicated kimchi refrigerator that is specifically designed to aid fermentation.
Is It Possible To Ferment Wine in a Plastic Container?
If you want to make wine, you need a container for primary fermentation and a second container for aging.
Although it is usually recommended for red wines and smaller batches, you can ferment wine in food-grade plastic containers, and even buy specialty plastic wine fermenters with room for the must.
The large surface area of most plastic containers increases the oxidation risk during the fermentation process.
Most wine experts recommend against using plastic containers to age wine.
Because wine is acidic and needs to age for a long time, there is a risk of elements getting into the wine. It’s true for the same thing with kombucha as well.
Is It Possible To Brew Beer in Buckets?
You can brew beer in food-grade buckets, and it is very common for beginning homebrewers to do that.
Beer should not be kept in a plastic bucket for more than a few weeks because the large surface area of the bucket increases the risk of oxidation.
It’s easy to get plastic, it’s inexpensive, and it’s available.
There is no reason why you can’t ferment almost anything in plastic, even though glass and ceramic are preferred containers.
Make sure that you clean and care for the plastic that you use, and always use high-quality food-grade plastic. A plastic bucket is a great way to start or scale up a hobby.
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