I was lent a crock with a water seal lip, which was used for making sauerkraut. I want to use it for making pickles, which I have usually done by placing a cloth over the crock. Searching for information online, I can only find that I'm less likely have foam/scum to skim off. Curious as to what other differences I can expect? Or is the anaerobic environment not make a difference? Thanks!
As long as your vegetables are submerged, you will be fine and there really is no difference. You will likely need to place something on top to keep the vegetables under the brine. Often a "pickling crock" will come with weights that fit inside, but anything will work. By way of example, I simply use one of these containers for my vegetables and brine. Then I fill a second with water, and place it on top. That keeps the vegetables from floating, and limits the formation of mold on top of the ferment.