You might wonder why palinka cauldrons and even saucepans are made of copper. It is not a coicidence that since ancient times, copper has been used for the distillation of alcohol, and there are a huge number of reasons why. The secret lies in the ’chemistry’ and characteristics of copper. In this article, we will list some of the reasons, why copper is suitable for distillation, and why it is so important to clean the cauldron after each palinka distillation, and we will also give you useful tips how you can carefully clean your palinka-cooking-set at home. Join us and learn about the secrets of palinka cauldrons!
Why copper is the ultimate material of palinka distillers?
First and foremost, copper has the best thermal conductivity of all materials available on the market. Therefore, it is almost impossible to burn the mash during distillation (if mash is burned, the taste of the distillate becomes awful, and you cannot make delicious palinka). Copper is extremely resistant, especially to aggressive vapors that are produced during the distillation process (you can read about the different types of distillation process in a previous article). And not only the material but the shape of the cauldron is also very important! The round, spherical shape of the cauldron also helps to prevent mash-burn and the round cauldron distributes the heat evenly. Moreover, copper is stable enough to hold up to hundreds of liters (often 1000 l) of mash without any problem. In addition, copper is the only substance that reacts with sulfuric acid and helps neutralize it during distillation. Now you can see why it is so essential to use copper cauldrons for palinka production.
How to clean copper cauldrons properly – and without harm?
Proper cleaning is one of the basic prerequisites of producing high quality palinka. One thing is for sure: even if you have the highest quality mash, you cannot make quality fruit brandy if your distiller is not cleaned properly.
The entire inner part of the palinka distiller, especially the copper cauldron, should be rinsed with water thoroughly, and remaining, burnt mash parts should be removed by a brush without scratching the inside of the appliance. You can also use a high-pressure washer to clean the palinka distiller, but it is essential to pay attention to the seals to avoid future problems. If the cauldron is extremely dirty or needs thorough cleaning (for instance, if you want to make palinka after you have extracted essential oil (yes, you can use distiller for such purposes too)), it is recommended to soak the disassembled pieces in hot soda lye and then rinse carefully. Use a long-handled brush (similar to the feeding bottle brush) for cleaning the steam tube. Rinsing is best done by repeatedly adding water to the cauldron and performing a non-cooling distillation. Therefore, the steam will do a thorough job and you don’t have to worry about the remaining stains and dirt.
When the inside of the cauldron is done, then comes the outside, the cleaning of which also requires experience and careful hands. The easiest and cheapest way to restore the brilliant look of the copper cauldron is to cut lemon in half, put it in salt and then rub the outside of the appliance carefully. At the end of the process, rinse thoroughly with running water and quickly wipe with a soft (non-scratchy) cloth. If you have a smaller distiller, you can clean its parts in hot salty water, infused with vinegar. Be careful while dipping the parts into the hot water! Rinse thoroughly and wipe clean, preferably as soon as possible. This method is also suitable for cleaning parts of the appliance that are more difficult to reach.
Don’t let your cauldron go to waste! Clean it carefully and the reward is heavenly delicious, high quality palinka. Of course, if you don’t want to clean copper cauldrons and other appliance parts, you can always buy palinka, bottled and ready-made just for you!