That’s A Crock’a…Awesome: Open Crock Pickles

To make dill pickles, just soak some cucumbers and dill in vinegar and salt for a few weeks.  Yup.  Its that easy.

This kind of pickle is often called “open crock” because in old times, they were put in crocks, a thick ceramic container and left to sit out in cold dark spots until the pickles were done.  The thick ceramic would help maintain a steady cool temp of the pickles.    Now you can just put them in jars in the refrigerator.

For a wedding present, my sister gave us a 1 gallon crock.  I decided this year was time to pull it out and activate my pickling scene.

Open Crock Pickles
(makes 1 gallon)

  • 5 lbs pickling cukes (4-6 inches)
  • 6 Tbs pickling spice
  • 8 c. water
  • 4 c. vinegar
  • 6 Tbs kosher or sea salt
  • 3 large dill stems with seeds -0r- 1/4 dried dill seed
  • 4-6 garlic cloves
  • 3 dried chillies
  • 1 gallon crock or glass jar

Soak cucumbers in ice water for 1 hour.  This washes the cucumbers as well as helps ensure crispiness.

Start filling your crock. Layer dill, 2 tbs of your pickling spice, a dried chili and 1-2 cloves of garlic on the bottom of your crock.

Layer on top of this 1/2 of your cucumbers. Top with second layer of dill and spices. Fill with last 1/2 of your cucumbers and top with remaining dill and spices.

Make your brine. Mix water, vinegar and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.  I would normally use white vinegar or cider vinegar.  However, I currently have a shit ton of red wine vinegar which I want to get rid of so I’m using this.  It may give a slight pink color if I can them later, but it won’t be visible if they’re all eaten relatively soon.

Pour boiling brine over your full crock.

Weigh your pickles down.  If you’re using a crock, find a plate which fits just over the top and weigh down with plates to keep cucumbers below the surface of your brine. If you’re using a jar, put the lid on it.

Store your pickles in a cool place for 2-3 weeks. You can put the crock in the fridge to brine, or you can also leave it out on the counter.  As you can see above, I had some room in my fridge.  My sister leaves her out on her kitchen counter all the time.  Instead of a plate, she uses a clear plastic sheet draped over the top and weighed down with extra brine.  This helps keep out bugs and scum.

So get out there and make some pickles!