Questions about old crocks and jugs

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by clovis, May 15, 2006.

  1. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2002
    I hate to sound stupid, but I am too young (and never taught) about old crocks and jugs.

    Antique crocks and jugs can be very collectible, and I have sold many crocks and jugs in our flea market business.

    When these crocks were new, did a food product come packed inside the crocks and jugs? If so, what products came in these?

    Were the crocks and jugs purchased empty for use around the house and farm?

    What kinds of lids were available for these crocks? Could these crocks be made to be watertight or airtight?

    Again, I hate to look dumb by asking these questions....I can't seem to find anyone that REALLY knows.
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

    May 10, 2002
    Between Crosslake and Emily Minnesota
    Most of the time the large crocks were sold empty and used to make sauerkraut in. The cabbage was pressed using a round wooden board that fit the diameter of the crock. The stuff fermented inside the crock with a broad covering the top of the crock.

  3. bostonlesley

    bostonlesley Guest

    I have a huge collection of crocks and jugs from the 19th and 20th centuries..depending upon the age, there were all kinds of lids..mostly stoneware, wood or tin.

    Crocks were made in every size of the largest I've ever seen was in the cellar of an old house in upstate New held 100 gallons and had a blue slip peacock on it..I'm clueless as to what it was used for, but can only guess that somebody made an awful lot of "something" in that cellar.

    Crocks held butter, sugar, whole spices from the grocer, flour, coffee, tea, honey, molasses, pickles, smoked fish, smoked meats, etc. etc. if it could be cut up and packed it was put in a crock for storage. There were also cheese crocks.
    Jugs were obviously used for liquids..a gallon of honey and then they'd pour that off into a small crock and keep the crock on the table or in the kitchen cupboard..same with molasses..smaller jugs held daily or weekly vinegar, herbal concoctions, oils, etc.
    and don't forget the whiskey jugs. Gin (which was very popular) came in bottles, not jugs.

    And crocks were used to store left overs too..crocks were put into ice houses and running streams..they kept everything wonderfully cool.

    If people wanted the food to be water-tight or airtight, they poured paraffin wax over the top...Most "stored" food in crocks was already processed by either pickling, smoking or salting though, so usually food would simply be "wrapped" in a muslin covering to keep bugs away. Flour & sugar crocks had lids.
  4. chas

    chas Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2004
    western pa
    My mother made 14 day pickles in crocks up into the sixties.A dinner plate inside held the cuccumbers under the brine.
    I miss those pickles.
    By gum you talked me into trying it for myself!
  5. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

    May 13, 2002
    Thank you for the responses. I feel like I learned something today. Know of any websites that I could visit to learn more?
    Thanks again!
  6. bostonlesley

    bostonlesley Guest

    No,sorry..I learned everything I know about them from reading books in the library..hmm.I do recall seeing a few good sites concerning Southern crocks though and their history..try googling "Dave the Slave crocks" and see what you find..

    There are some terrific crocks made by a single individual in Georgia who was a slave..he signed all of his pieces with either his name or a mark or both..some fascinating reading there..enjoy.
  7. suitcase_sally

    suitcase_sally Well-Known Member Supporter

    Mar 20, 2006
    Michigan's Thumb

    ROFLMAO!!! How long did she have to keep it covered?
  8. Junkman

    Junkman Junkman

    Dec 17, 2005
    Wild Wonderful West Virginia
    There was a pottery factory in our area and crocks and jars were made and
    shipped down river. Since they broke easily and were heavy when filled they
    soon became replaced as glass jars for home storage of food. One of the uses was, ladies would fry up sausage in patties, place in big stone jars and pour the grease over the layers. It would solidify, making a white lard covering that preserved the meat. When we moved here and dug up the old
    garden area we found lots of colorful shards of stoneware. Our 90+ neighbor
    told us broken jars were thrown in the garden and worked in to keep the
    soil loose. Guess the pioneers made do with what they had. Several books
    are available on stoneware in book stores. Any thing from water coolers, beer
    bottles, chicken waterers to foot warmers were made from stoneware.
  9. LagoVistaFarm

    LagoVistaFarm Well-Known Member

    Mar 1, 2006
    My MIL is somewhat of an expert on Red Wing Crocks. Let me know if you need info on them. We have several and are looking for a churn.
  10. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

    Apr 10, 2006
    in the old country crocks are still in use and have been even improved upon. I have seen an ad several time in country side magazine advertizing crocks that are very popular and come in all sizes from one gallon to fifty.
    I have several that I still use. At home we used them for Sauerkraut of course, but we did it a little bit different than cabin fever;), it was stomped down first, then covered with a couple of cut to fit boards, a scalded big stone held them down and kept the kraut from rising. a clean sheet was put over the whole thing to keep bugs out. Meat was brine cured in crocks, then smoked and the smoked meat was then hung from rafters, where air could get to it and mice could not. rendered fat was kept in crocks, fried meat was preserved in grease, pickles of course were also made in them. Today they are much simpler to use as they are made with a wide and deep rim that holds water , the lid is bowlshaped and inverted so it fits inside the rim, making an airtight seal, as long as you keep the waterlevel up. My mother also kept eggs in them for winter, they were inspected to make sure they had no crack, carefully stacked and a mixture of lime and water was poured over them to cover them completely, this kept the eggs fresh for a long time for the time in winter when the chickens did not lay. I am sure foodgrade plastic buckets will serve the same purpose. as for jugs, I remember there was a big jug with a spicket at the store that held vinegar and you brought your own bottle and filled it from the spicket.