food safety speculation

ClareBroommaker's picture

About a dozen of our gallon glass jars were used in the garden to warm early planted peppers. I use these jars for pickling. But after being turned upside down in the garden I don't seem to be able to get the inside of the jars as clean as I'd like. You cannot see anything on them, but I can feel tiny specs that feel like they should be removable. Scrubbing and scrubbing just doesn't remove the specks. In my mind I am imagining them to be little colonies of psuedomonas. I've already spritzed some bleach solution on them.

After reading mountainmoma's thread about cookies and bread in her solar oven, it occurs to me that I can put the jars in our solar oven to heat them and hopefully kill any persistent bacteria that remain in these specks. Probably would do a second solarization of them with a cup of water in the oven to make a penetrating steam.

The final hope is that the brine for fermentation, and ultimately the formed acid, will suppress/kill any unwanted germs in these non-removable specks.

What do you think? Sound like I'm doing enough to make the jars safe for pickling? This is one of those questions I feel like I don't want to ask on a more typical forum where I'd probably get responses like, "Glass is cheap. Throw them away and get new."

I would think you could certainly boil the jars to get rid of any psuedomonas. Perhaps some research on the little beasties will reveal how to kill them.

mountainmoma's picture

The solar oven will get jars with water hot enough to kill germs.

But, have you tried just using Bon Ami cleanser ? That should take off anything you can feel, then you can sterilize via your favorite method. Bon Ami will not scratch glass, and scrubs very well

if it is more similar to little specks of a hard water deposit type thing which could have happened with condensation under the jars over the soil (which is mineral) then soaking with a strong vinegar solution could loosen as well as kills tuff, but I owuld try the bon ami first

If it is mineral deposits from hard water, which will mostly be Calcium and Magnesium salts, then I suggest using lemon juice in hot water. It is much more effecting at removing mineral deposits of all types from surfaces than vinegar. It is effective due to the citric acid which is a chelating agent (which means it binds divalent cations - eg Calcium, Magnesium, Iron etc.). This is much more effective than simply acid such as vinegar or even hydrochloric acid. But be careful, it will eat into iron and steel of all types except most stainless steels. Don't use to remove scale from a kettle if it has an iron heating element. It could eat it away.