how to sterilise tupperware?
December 5, 2011 10:26 PM   Subscribe

Am I going to kill my family with this mincemeat?

A friend gave me a recipe for tropical mincemeat. It's a no-meat, no-suet variety - just fruit, nuts, sugar and alcohol. I skimmed the recipe before I started, but didn't read it properly. The pan of delicious smelling mincemeat is currently cooling in a large pot on top of my stove. I just noticed that the recipe says "remove from the heat, leave to cool, pack in sterile jars. Will store one month in the fridge and 6 months in the freezer."

Well, I don't own any glass jars, just tupperware. I've googled a bit, and there is a lot of talk about fruit being high-acid, and sugar inhibiting mold growth too, but everyone seems to pack their preserves in glass jars. I also see that boiling water is not hot enough to kill botulism spores anyway. I planned to pack half this batch in tupperware for the freezer, and half in tupperware for the fridge, ready to use to make the actual mince pies next weekend. Is this a terrible idea? Is there anything safe I can do with tupperware?
posted by Joh to Food & Drink (4 answers total)
It'll be fine; everyone will eat it over christmas, and sugar is a wonderful preservative.
posted by smoke at 10:39 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Run your tupperware and lids through the dishwasher before you pack it. It will be fine.
posted by slightlybewildered at 11:48 PM on December 5, 2011

Best answer: Yes, it will be fine. In order for botulin toxin to develop it needs an anaerobic environment (i.e., no oxygen) with a relatively high pH (low acid). Fruit is fairly high in acid, and if you're really still worried you could always crack the lid to let oxygen in. Of course, that increases the chance of mold growth but as smoke said sugar is a good preservative so not much chance of that either. The main reason people use glass jars is because they can sterilize them and store canned items for a long time without refrigeration and they won't spoil. The recipe sounds like it's written with the assumption that you have these things lying around, not because it's a requirement. The sugar + refrigeration will prevent mold from forming for quite a while, probably months.
posted by cali at 11:52 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Tupperware will be fine, I'd run it through the dishwasher as slightlybewildered suggested. You can buy jars for freezer jam which are basically Tupperware and I use them all the time with no problems.

Mincemeat (like jams) is by nature is designed as a way of storing and preserving fruit so the sugar and alcohol help with all that anyway. Best way to store it, in my opinion, is in a selection of tiny pies and then eat them, nothing like mince pies with a slice of a strong cheddar cheese to make it feel like christmas.
posted by wwax at 8:47 AM on December 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

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