Old World - Preserving the Harvest

The Pickle Crock

Keeping the tradition of my Gram’s kitchen alive!

Making Dill Pickles in a Crock

When we returned from our visit out east there were plenty of cucumbers in the garden. A few had grown to the size of small watermelons and those went to the chickens. They love cucumbers! The rest were just right for filling my crock with a big batch of brine cured dill pickles.

A full crock of cukes, ready for the brine solution.

The Crock

My parents brought this crock when they came to visit last fall for Thanksgiving. They’ve had it for many years and couldn’t recall where it came from. I asked for one for my birthday so I could make sauerkraut and pickles in it this year.  I’m so thrilled to have this crock to fill and cure the bounty from my garden just like my Grandma M used to do. You can find my recipes for Brine Cured Dill Pickles and Brine Cured Mustard Pickles here.

Crock from my parents.

Filling the crock up with sliced cucumbers, onion, dill flowers, and brine solution brings back such wonderful memories of my Gram’s pickle crocks. She would often have 2 crocks filled and curing in the stairway to her cellar. The cool air kept the pickles longer. Gram would make mustard pickles in one crock. They were very strong, with vinegar and spices to cure and flavor the cucumbers. When company came over she would dip out a bowl of pickles to put on the table. I had to change up her recipe a little to cut the strength of the vinegar a bit with brine solution. The old recipe makes me choke, even though I love the flavor.



With the cucumbers all sliced up in the crock, I added several flower heads from my dill plants, a sliced onion, and a few peppercorns. The brine solution is poured over the whole mess, then a plate is placed directly on the top of the veggies. I used a couple of ceramic bowls from my Grandma P’s kitchen to weigh down the plate and keep the cukes under the brine to prevent spoilage. The whole crock is left for at least a day to cure and pickle. On day two I dipped out a slice or two to taste test. The flavor is already to my liking, but the pickles will be allowed to cure like this for at least a week before I put them in the refrigerator or can them. This year I might try freezing a few to see how they turn out. It’s fun to experiment with different methods of food preservation.


The crock of pickles is filling our kitchen with the scent of dill. It makes me hungry just walking by!

Have you ever made brine cured pickles in a crock? What is your favorite recipe?


13 Comments on “The Pickle Crock

  1. Yes I think you are right on the shape of the bowl allowing more cukes too fit. Also, that is probably why the plastic did not work on my crock. Thanks again!!

  2. Hi Lisa Lynn,

    Purchased a one gallon ceramic crock w/lid. I am new to the brine pickling world. Used your brine recipe in which you have pictured using a glass bowl. I think the recipe called for 8 cucumbers but I only used 4. That filled your 2 c water/ 2 c vinegar recipe. Maybe my cucumbers were too large. I did not put plastic over my crock but simply laid a plate on top with a weight. The liquid and peppercorns did float above that a bit. Maybe I could have added more cucumbers. Then I placed the crock lid on top. Will let ferment for a few days and then place in frig. IS the only way to have them last more than 3 or 4 weeks in frig to actually can them??
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Paula,
      I have actually kept these pickles in the refrigerator for much longer than this and have had no problems with them going bad. (I don’t know if this is a good idea, but I have eaten them after a year in the brine in the refrigerator.) You may can them, but they get squishy.

      I originally read about brine curing from Rhodale’s old book, Stocking Up, in which they had directions for using pickles from the brine and then add more veggies to pickle. I’ve been doing that with good results. This year I started by cutting my cukes into spears, and then I switched to whole cukes, with good results. I’m eating pickles for breakfast these days, lol!

      As long as the cucumbers or other veggies are under the brine solution, they will be fine. If there are too many to keep them all under the brine, they will either need to go in the refrigerator, take some out, or add more brine.
      Best wishes with your brine pickles!

      1. Very happy to share, Paula! By the way…I think the size and shape of the container has a lot to do with how many cukes you can fit. Also, if you cut them up or leave them whole has an effect too. The way my glad bowls are shaped, I think I can fit more pickles in brine.

  3. My mom always made crocks of Icicle Pickles. I can still remember them sitting on the shelf in the pantry and sneaking in to test them. I tried them myself, once, long ago, and didn’t have luck at all. You’ve inspired me –I may try again. Thanks!

    1. Hi Meredith,
      It has been forever since I’ve had an icicle pickle! I’ve got to look the recipe up. I think you can freeze those, can’t you? Best wishes with your pickle making!

  4. We had pickle making day here on Saturday afternoon – our cucumbers are coming in great this year. We added lots of onions this year as we found we liked the pickled onions almost as much as the pickles themselves!

  5. I’m curious about how you store them after they’ve reached their desired “pickliness”? Do you leave them in the brine in smaller jars, or do you rinse them and store them in some other liquid so they don’t continue to pickle?? Thanks!

    1. Hi Kelly,
      I leave them in the brine solution and store them in the refrigerator. However, this is the first time I’ve made so much in one batch and I will have to make an attempt at canning them. I will use the brine solution to can them also. It helps to keep them acidic and tasting pickle-y.

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