I could write a million posts about canning. How to can, what to can and how much to can. But I think the best post I could write about is storing canned goods. For years, I have tried to figure out the best way to store the things I canned. But we could never figure out a way that I liked and allowed us to see and use those goods. At least until Jared came up with my shelves. In this post, I will show you how to build canning shelves.
Why Is Good Storage Important
We can a lot of food. When I say a lot, I mean hundreds of jars a year. It’s not uncommon for me to put up 50+ jars of tomato sauce, 50+ jars of green beans, and more. The reason we put up so much is because it’s cheap. Before buying this property, I could buy a half bushel of peaches for $10 and end up with 20-30 pints of diced or sliced peaches. I could buy two bushels of green beans for $40 and can 75 quarts of green beans. I was able to get farm fresh produce and preserve it for pennies compared to buying it at the store.
The problem was where we were going to put all this food. Jared attempted to conquer the problem by building Frankenstein.
Frankenstein was 5ft tall by 4ft wide and 2ft deep. If you’ve been canning for more than a minute, you know that jars got lost in the back. It was sturdy and it worked, but within six weeks this thing was crammed full.
Back to the Drawing Board
At this point I was at a loss. I browsed Pinterest, Google, and canning groups on Facebook, but just couldn’t find what I was looking for. Plastic shelves aren’t sturdy. Metal shelves are held together by plastic clips. Premade shelves were expensive or the wrong size.
I told Jared, I wanted tall shelves that can hold several rows of jars. I wanted no more than three or four jars deep so jars don’t get lost. And I also wanted a lot of shelves on each unit. This is what my man came up with.
I was in love. Not only with Jared but also with my amazing shelves. As canning season went on, we realized we needed more shelves for our canned goods. Not just the jars that I put up, but also the stuff that we bought in bulk like flour, sugar, cereal, grains, etc. So he kept building me shelves until we ended up with what we have now.
This is how we build our canning shelves
In total we have seven shelves that each hold approximately 300 jars each. This includes things like sugar, flour, coffee, rice, and extra jars just to name a few things. For now, I think we have enough shelves for canned goods but who knows what tomorrow will bring.
My friend over at Simple Living Homestead wrote an amazing blog post about all the different ways to store jars and lids. While I thought I had it all figured out, there are a couple of really useful items that I am looking at. Specifically, #5 the handmade wooden lid organizer! That would really come in handy, especially in the height of canning season when I lose everything. The canning tongs, rings, jars, my mind?
The measurements for theses shelves are 48″ wide by 12″ deep by 96″ tall. I believe we used 23 2x4x8 studs.
How To Build Canning Shelves
- Tape Measure
- Circular or miter saw
- 4 1" Block of wood
- T Square or similar
- 23 2x4x8
- A LOT 2" Screws we used decking screws
- Cut 24 48" pieces for shelves
- Cut 18 12" pieces for braces
- To make your end pieces, lay out 2 2x4x8's and attach 1 12" brace to the top and 1 12" brace to the bottom. Place the brace between the 2×4 so that your finished width is 15". Make sure your corners are square and level before you screw it together.Do this twice
- Next attach 3 2x4x48" pieces to the bottom of your shelf. Use a 1" block in each space to ensure that your shelves are spaced evenly. Once the bottom row of shelves are done, you can stand up the unit so you are not on the ground.
- Now you are going to attach the next brace 12" above your previous shelf. Double check that a quart jar will fit between your shelves. I can fit my half gallon jars as well but it's better to measure and adjust now than to have an entire shelfing unit that is wrong.
- Keep going until you reach the top. The top shelf to the top brace is not 12", this is normal. I usually put extra jars or half gallon jars up on top.
I hope you enjoyed this article and if you need any help with measurements or how to do it, just leave a comment!
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