Cheap pickling crocks

I love my pickling crock. I found a used 2-gallon crock at a local consignment shop for $10 and it’s worth every penny. It makes it so much easier to mix ingredients and keep everything submerged in brine. I also found a source for regionally-made (Ohio, I think) crocks, new, and today succumbed and bought a 2-quart one that will be perfect for pickling ginger carrots.

But what if you’re just starting out pickling and don’t want to invest in a crock that may only see a couple of uses? You could use a bowl or quart canning jars, but my friend Ken had another brilliant idea: use your Crock Pot. Since the key features of a pickling crock are that it’s a) cylindrical and b) non-reactive (so, not copper or aluminum or iron), the ceramic innards of a slow cooker are just about perfect. Chances are you have a plate that fits the inside, too, to serve as a weight and lid.

I was kicking around the weekly Kiwanis sale this morning, and I had another idea, too: a plastic ice bucket. They’re also cylindrical, non-reactive, and the right size, and you can find them for a buck at almost any resale shop.

That being said, I still love my crocks. Plastic is very practical (and oh so much lighter), but there is a grace and solidity of a stoneware crock that it can’t match. If you’re a geek like me, there’s a great (long) article called “Feeding the Family: Domestic Outbuildings and Traditional Foodways in the Blue Ridge” that explains how food was typically stored on farms before refrigeration was common. A good set of earthenware crocks and a spring house were key. It actually sounds like the advent of canning meant more work and possibly less-safe food, though it did increase variety.

In other news, I’ve now had two invitations to help kill chickens this summer. I probably will.



  1. Momster said,

    January 20, 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Does this mean you have edited the “crock” off your Amazon list???

  2. Emily said,

    January 20, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Unsure. The Amazon one has “special features” that are quite spiffy…but the plain ones seem to be working out just fine. Perhaps the recipe books are more important first!

  3. Derrick said,

    February 1, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    I stumbled across your site today looking for a place to get some pickling crocks, and I must say that i’ve now had to add you to my RSS reader! Thanks!

    Oh, and can you let us in on who your local crock maker is? I still need one 🙂

  4. Kimberley said,

    March 15, 2008 at 4:58 pm

    I want the crock link too….off to read up on the traditional foodways of the Blueridge..
    Thanks ECtH!

  5. Emily said,

    March 17, 2008 at 10:10 am

    I buy my new crocks at Downtown Home and Garden in Ann Arbor, Michigan – but their manufacturer (from Ohio) has quit making crocks. I often find used crocks (at Treasure Mart in Ann Arbor) stamped with Ohio or Illinois company names, but I don’t know if they’re still in business.

  6. Buttercup said,

    April 2, 2008 at 9:17 am

    Lehman’s ( has US-made crocks and also German pickling crocks.

    They have many useful tradtional products for gardeners and cooks. I bought the sauerkraut stomper.

  7. July 15, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    […] found out what I actually wanted was a fermented pickle. After searching across the internet, and finding new and interesting sites, I came to find out that pickling crocks are not Dollar Store items–especially if you have to […]

  8. Linda said,

    August 13, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Would you share your ginger carrot recipe?

  9. Emily said,

    August 13, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    Linda- I actually don’t use the crock for pickling carrots any more – carrots tend to get moldy quickly, so here’s what I do: Just shred a bunch of carrots and add a bunch of grated ginger and put it it a jar. Add 1tsp of salt to the top of the carrots and cover with brine (6c. water and 3Tbl. salt) enough so it’s all under water. You might stuff a folded cabbage leaf into the neck of the jar to keep the veggies submerged. Put on a lid and tuck it into the fridge for a couple weeks!


  10. Linda said,

    August 14, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Thanks Emily!!! I will do as you recommend. Actually started a small (1 head) batch of ‘kraut yesterday in a little crock liner from a crock pot. All this good info on the web is motivating! I have an excellent ginger pickled veggie recipe that I have made before (cauliflower, carrots and more) that is refridgerated, must make that again. Love your site. Cheers.

  11. kari said,

    August 5, 2011 at 6:29 pm

    I, too, was looking for pickling crocks when I came across your site. Wonderful info. Will add you to my RSS. Thanks so much!

  12. Anonymous said,

    August 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Hi, can anyone offer store locations (Grand Rapids area) to buy a pickling crock? I used my mother’s till last year when it started leaking. Need a new one.

  13. Jhen said,

    November 13, 2011 at 12:46 am

    I’m another one who was looking for pickling crocks and stumbled across your site. Thank you for the information, and I shall be back!

  14. Jake said,

    November 29, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    You can pick a crock up from Ace Hardware. They sell crocks from Ohio Stoneware.

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