Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600557
For brining or fermenting pickles, use a crock or stone jar, an unchipped enamel-lined pan, a large glass bowl or jar, or a food-grade plastic container. Plastic containers which are obviously intended for food use, like mixing bowls, food keepers, or cake savers, are food grade. Large food-grade plastic containers are available at wine-making supply stores. Do not use plastic pails or trash cans for brining pickles. Toxic compounds could migrate from these containers into the brine.
For heating pickling liquids, use utensils of unchipped enamelware, stainless steel, aluminum or glass. Do not use copper, brass, galvanized or iron utensils.
A brine-filled plastic bag is an effective cover for sealing the brine surface and keeping out air, thus preventing the growth of yeast or mold. The bag should be of heavyweight, watertight plastic and intended for use with food. Fill the bag with enough brine (6 tablespoons salt to 1 gallon of water) to form a tight-fitting cover over the cabbage or cucumbers. Tie it tightly so the water will not leak out.
For added protection, place the brine-filled bag inside another heavyweight, watertight plastic bag intended for food use. Check the bags daily for leaks. Replace leaking bags.