Working pantry layout advice

mrsmortarmixerFebruary 12, 2013

It seems that everyone has really good ideas on here and setting up the best use of available space. We are getting the point where I need to decide where water lines, drain, and stove line needs to go so we can get the rest of the walls up. If anyone has any good suggestions or any ideas, I would much appreciate it. What I have is a completely blank slate. I will attach a picture of the floorplan. The doorway and stairs cannot be moved. At least one window will probably go, maybe both. Keep in mind long term food storage, so heat, light, and moisture need to be kept to a minimum. In an ideal world, the plumbing and range would stay on or near the north wall because it's the easiest and most direct route to water and electric supply and easiest to vent outside. It would get really ugly on the south wall, but could be done worst case scenario. This is typically one butt all the time. Occasionally an extra skinny butt or three little butts help, so I'd really like to cram in as much functional space as possible without endangering anyone.

This is what it needs to be able to do.

-Long term food storage, both dry goods and canned goods. Shelving or floor to ceiling shallow cabinetry is ideal. Cheap rules.
-Meat processing, which requires a large expanse of countertop, as well as room for a commercial meat grinder (about 18x24") and freezer paper roll (15X24"). I'm thinking at least 6 ft of uninterrupted counter.
-Canning. I use my 30" electric range for this, plus a good exhaust system. Needs to be close to sink.
-Sink. For hand-washing and canning. I'm thinking a laundry sink with a pull down faucet might work for here, and be incredibly cheap. Whatever the sink, it needs to be tough, there will be lots of heavy items moving around in here.
-Chest freezer. I think it's 54" +/- long. I access it at least twice a day. So it needs to be convenient from the kitchen.
-Storage for empty jars. Ideally, I would like to get as many moved inside as possible. Traveling to the pole barn to grab boxes is really inconvenient.

I think instead of cabinetry that will really drive up costs, I would like to do something similar to a work bench with a shelf underneath. I can easily store my canning jars in boxes and bins on the shelf, as well as meat grinder and paper roll. It's also easier to mop after processing when there isn't anything directly on the floor to mop against. We might even be able to bolt the bench to the wall and prevent legs on the floor altogether in that area. I'd also like to leave the wall above the space empty. The ceilings are only 7.5' and Mr. MM is 6'5". Processing seems to require a lot of leaning over and I'd like to prevent a concussion.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ooh, looks very promising! Which wall would be best for range/sink? I can't tell which wall faces which direction. Is there a wall next to the stairs all the way or is part of it open? How high are the windows from the floor?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is it bad that I'm more excited about the pantry than I am about the new kitchen?! I can't wait to make it functional again, and I'm tired of digging out food from the old kitchen cabinets. I broke a drawer front off last week trying to get out a can of soup. LOL.

The top wall is the north wall. Anywhere left of the stairs has easy access for running water lines. Electric can go in anywhere. Water can be run wherever, but would be closest and easiest towards the north end, just because there is basement there and sufficient crawlspace. We haven't started clearing out the south end yet. It all has to be done with shovels and buckets. Not fun. Windows are about 40" off of the floor and are short, and can be moved/removed easily. There is a full wall next to the stairs.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here is one of the options I had laid out. But I feel like the freezer is eating up a lot of space. If I move it to where the pantry type cabinets are, then it's a hip catch when you walk in the door. If I move it to the northwest corner, I'm going to have to cut down the countertop at least for a foot or two inside the door.


East Wall

West Wall

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 3:21AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
robo (z6a)

I'd like to take that sink off the wall so you have elbow room. Could you take 18 inches off the stove run on the right and add it to the left of the sink? Then take another foot and add it between sink and stove...your most valuable counter. You could switch sink to other wall but for canning they'd definitely be nice on the same wall.

To me, long term food storage and open shelves don't mix very well.

I would maybe just turn the freezer so it's facing the stairs, it looks to be kind of interfering with the landing where it is. You could do a full height, full depth, 27 inch pantry in the far corner for big little used equipment and extra supplies, leaving the narrow pantry (which I like) near the door for food. Or a full depth drawers, countertop as landing space for freezer, then uppers for storage.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:04AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for the input robotropolis.

Here is a second option that I worked on after the first. It gets the sink out of the corner, but puts the freezer a bit farther from the kitchen. Not a huge deal so long as I can easily get to it. Once again, tighter aisles, but I think it would work. The oven will rarely get used, maybe for Thanksgiving overflow once a year. I agree that the sink really needs to stay on the same run as the range. I think the pantry cabinets on the southwest corner could be used for long term storage and the open shelves on the south wall could be used for daily items. I think the shelves under the countertop would still be sufficient for storing empty jars in boxes and plastic totes. Dust isn't really an issue since I run them all through the dishwasher prior to use. I like the idea of the full depth panty and could easily add it to the southeast corner or the northwest corner to keep it out of the way.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
robo (z6a)

Personally I don't like the freezer there, it's eating up all that great counterspace you need to either side of the range and sink, plus it's far from the kitchen. On the South wall would definitely be my preference. You could also consider an upright freezer? But I hear they're less efficient.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One option would be for the freezer to switch sides, and move directly across the aisle. The lack of counter space by the stove and sink would be a major deal-breaker for me. Wouldn't you want some counter to each side of the sink?

I think with this plan, the freezer would be best where you show the 'shelving.' Easy to access and out of the way, since you don't need it inside the work zone. You could still get some storage beside it.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I don't think the freezer works there either, but was looking at it like an extension of counter top. Not to be used all the time, but I could set things there temporarily. I will move it back to where it was and try to figure out something else for added storage without adding above the counter on the left side of the room. I think with the freezer there, I need a piece of counter right inside the door for a drop off zone. I don't want to have to move things off of the freezer every time I need in it.

Rhome- how do you feel about the less than ideal aisles? Our range is 42" +/- a bit from the island and I feel like it could easily be a couple inches closer, but without actually living with it that way, I could be wrong.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 6:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is the storage under the stairwell used? Is that something that can maybe be blocked off? Just mulling over ideas, I was doing good until I realized I forgot the freezer, lol!

This site is a procrastinator's dream! I have plenty of things I can do here and still feel helpful instead of getting my own c*ap done! But seriously, it helps to work through other problems and let my own work themselves out in the background sometimes. Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 8:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I wasn't too worried about your aisles, since it's not a main kitchen with heavy use of the oven. I have a 36" aisle between my stove and island, and I don't feel like it's crowded. I thought I was making it narrow, so that it would dissuade people from going through there when I'm working. People still go through occasionally, but it's not problematic, because it's roomier than I'd imagined.

However, I was thinking of you working alone, and now that I read thoroughly, I foresee little butts becoming bigger and helping out more... Especially on big projects. Plus, it's a dead end, which means everyone needs to go in and out the same ways, not like around an island.

Still the aisles aren't horrific, I don't think. You could make the left counter a little shallower, if you don't think it'll cause work area aggravations, and so you could have more crew-friendly aisles. Depends on which is more important to you.

Here a couple pics of my 36" aisle, shared:

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

MrsMM, I can only post random thoughts because company has just left, and I had 2 glasses of wine. Please forgive my lack of cohesion.
I think you should consider a pot filler, because a full canning pot is heavy. If not a pot filler than perhaps your pull down faucet could reach to the canning pot on the stove?
I really like to use hot jars out of the sterilize cycle of the DW for canning. If you do also, a DW in the working pantry is probably a good idea.
While the deep utility sink is inexpensive, a wider shallow sink is more functional. I am thinking blanching, dumping hot water, ice cube dunks for freezing fruits and veg. I would love that as three position set up in a shallow trough-like sink.
If you are never going to bake in there, or use the oven for dehydrating, it is taking up valuable storage space.
I am not sure my ideal canning configuration would include four burners in a square layout. Wouldn't it be awesome to have separate portable burners that you can set up assembly line fashion; simmering empty jars(or for me the DW), then bubbling jam(or whatever) pot, followed by simmering rings, hot lids, then the boiling canner.
I am not really sure what meat processing entails- slaughter, butchering? I am thinking however that this means lots of stainless surfaces, and perhaps a floor drain might be very practical? If you wanted a floor drain, you would need to elevate the freezer and range a bit.
Also, I don't know how much water is needed for meat processing. Do you want the sink centrally located for both functions?
I am including a link to my fantasy canning jar storage- someday

Here is a link that might be useful: Storage System Idea

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

williamsem- the stairs go down to the basement and there is nothing above them. At the very end, there was a cutout where the microwave used to sit. I can't go much lower or it becomes a head banger on the other side. It's mostly just wall storage for extra extension cords, hand tools, and odds and ends that don't fit elsewhere. I wish it would disappear for all eternity, but it doesn't look like that is going to happen in the next few years. Eventually, that entire room will be yanked off of the house and we'll put an addition there. Another reason I don't want to spend a ton of money. Mr. MM wants to make the wood room bigger and allow more space around the furnace that sits on the other side of the north wall, but that would mean me losing 3 ft in an already cramped space. If he gets his way, then I need to lose this layout and try something else. I suppose I should have asked, but I assumed the temp. wall he built was going to be the permanent wall and based all measurements off of that. Turns out, it was just to keep the roof from collapsing. Huh.

Rhome- I don't think it will be too much of a problem. Your aisles look plenty big enough for a working line plus room to move around. The doggy friends remind me of cooking in our own kitchen. I've normally got one or two chairs around the stove, a dog sleeping right behind my feet, and another (slightly smarter) dog hanging back waiting for spills. It's a mini obstacle course all of the time. I don't think losing a couple inches of counter would hurt too much either. It seems that open counter without anything above are easier to use every inch of, whereas with cabinets above, I feel like I'm always pulling everything out to the very edge. Very little requires a full 24-25" of space.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

localeater- I would have never guessed you had two glasses of wine :) I had considered a pot filler, and think it would be the most useful, but faucets and pot fillers really add up and I have my old faucet in the new kitchen that will soon be replaced. It's a pull down that will reach a pretty good distance. And again, the extra dishwasher I would love to have, but I doubt Mr. MM is going to sign off on that idea. He really didn't think we needed the first one. I already have the oven, so I figured I would just keep it. Are portable burners expensive? How do they hold up? I'm sure it's a case of getting what you pay for, but I don't really want to spend hundreds every year to replace one. I hadn't thought much about the depth of the sink, more along the lines of how I wouldn't put the canner in the sink, but next to it. The sink would mostly be for hand washing and filling what needs to be filled, and probably catching bones and processing extras. It's nice to keep them contained in a small area.

Our meat processing generally involves bringing in a half deer at a time, whole chickens and turkeys, small game, and fish, which would be the only thing still alive when it came in. Small game is the only thing that might get skinned inside, but generally try to do anything like that outside. So it's usually cutting up and de-boning and grinding, and then wrapping and labeling to put in the freezer. A floor drain would be nice, and has been discussed, as well as stainless tables. We normally just do most of it on a piece of laminate counter with a huge cutting board, and wipe everything down with diluted bleach when we're done. The sink doesn't really need to be centrally located. The only time we use the sink is for cleanup, so as long as it's close, it's fine. I'm pretty sure that I will use vinyl/linoleum on the floors and walls in there just for ease of cleaning and price.

I love the pullouts. I just keep all of mine in their original boxes or in plastic bins with cardboard dividers.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 12:35AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Before you plan this space I think you need to deep-think your food preservation practices.

On one hand the preserving part is a little at odds with the longterm storage part.

I am in northern NY and I know that in July to early October, during my main period of preservation activity, my hard-working kitchen is the very opposite of the kind of space I need to keep the jars, bulk food, my freezers, good condition for the long haul. It's hot and steamy (even with ventilaton and all open windows), and very well-lit as I often work at night for coolness.

I have one freezer convenient to my kitchen (in a service room across the hall from my kitch), but two more in the basement where the bulk of my stored food lives. I open the basement freezers only once every 7-10 days or so when I restock the kitchen one. I keep another freezer (smaller) that I use primarily for initial freezing. I want it for quick freezing and to handle large quantities w/o raising the temps of the long-storage stuff (say when I have a lot of meat that isn't delivered already frozen.) As the eating-from-not-adding-to season progresses over the winter and early spring, I also shift things to keep at least one freezer full by consolidating the contents and turning others off. A single freezer, opened every day will lower the long-term quality of food.

My canned jars live in closed plastic storage tubs on shelves in the cellar.. My cellar stays pretty cool all year, but most importantly, it stays dark for 98% of the time. Those two factors keep home-canned food in the best condition. Unless you can put your jars in closed cupboards, I wouldn't recommend storing them in a room with windows, or one that was lit up regularly for long cooking projects or food prep sessions. (Or heated up by canning days.) I know the jars look pretty as display, but I don't do all the work of home food preservation for looks!

For actual canning, I think I'd want (ideally) burners a little farther separate than the conventional 30" stove set-up because my main pots are pretty big, and occupy at lot of stove top space.

Do you w/b can or pressure or both? Do you ever run two canners at once? I do, especially when pressure canning since those processing cycles are so long. Although I have some single-stack pressure canners, mostly I use ones that allow stacking of quarts and pints, so I would prefer to have a lowered counter with lowered burners to make it easier to fill and empty the canner.

I have eyed the custom-made rectangular Amish kettles for w/b. Some of them have drains which I think would be very useful, but you'd want to plan your burner placements (and the type of surface between them underneath the canner) carefully.

I'm not sure a pot filler would be high on my list of needs as I have a sink near by and rarely fill the canner itself directly from the tap, preferring to cook the water up in smaller pots, using a portable induction which removes one cooking pot from the main activity area on the stove top.

The chief problem I see in your proposed layout is planning to use the same space for storage as for processing. Is there a way you can separate the two and perhaps wall off the north end to store jars and maybe a long-term freezer, leaving the balance of the room for processing and the kitchen service freezer? Shelves above the swing of the freezer lid are an excellent place for canning kettles. If you have enough shelves for all the jars you might use in a year the empties can be returned to the storage area to await re-filling. I keep mine in plastic storage bins so they are clean and ready, needing only a quick rinse in hot water, or sterilization if the required. It's a drag to have to rewash jars at the start of big canning project. I just want to get going!

I'm not sure how much (meaning at what point) you get into the process of butchering and storing meat. Do you do your own poultry so you need scalding kettles? Do you need to skin rabbits? Make sausage? Use a meat saw? Need a big butcher-block area that is safe for cleavering? I find the most satisfactory surface for meat processing is stainless with a marine edge. I might consider one with a drain (and water service) if I did more meat prep.

Hope my questions are useful in working out what you plan to do in this space. Once you've thought that through, then I think the layout will fall in place. Having a dedicated canning kitchen would be a wonderful thing!


    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 1:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think I would do the room with stainless tables and a triple sink from a restaurant supply auction.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

How often do you actually do meat processing? Is it seasonal, monthly, weekly?

I'm not sure how heavy your meat processing equipment is, but could you use appliance lifts so that the equipment could be easily stored under your counterspace until needed which will give you more prep space during canning?

I'd also invest in a wall-mounted paper cutter for your freezer paper to keep it off the counter. They appear to be relatively inexpensive here:

Also, I'm a little confused about the stairwell. Is there any room you could steal from it for storage (roll out shelves) or will it interfere with head clearance going down to the basement?

As someone else mentioned, an upright freezer would greatly benefit your space. Personally, I hate rifling through a chest freezer looking for something; we purchased an upright freezer a few years ago that we plan to place in our new pantry. I think that it's much easier to find what I'm looking for in a upright. You might even find a good one on craigslist or the classifieds. I can't wait to not have to go up and down our basement stairs to access our freezer!

If you were to get an upright, I'd place it nearer to the kitchen door for easier access. My upright is 27"x32".

As for canning jars and/or additional storage, could you have some cabinetry or shelves above the long countertop expanse?


    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

liriodendron- I agree it's not ideal to have both together. I guess long term isn't the most ideal term, but I don't go grocery shopping every week either. Most of my canned goods are gone within a year to 18 months, if not sooner. I also buy staples in bulk. I don't plan on keeping anything over 2 years. Flour, sugar, etc are gone in 3 months or so. So it's not like I'm planning on storing anything for years on end. Just a lot of food for months or a year at a time. I don't see any big problems coming in that period of time.

Our basement is not suitable for storage. It's wet all of the time, which we are trying to fix, but it's a lot of years of issues that can't be fixed without heavy equipment, and we don't have a bulldozer sitting around. Just another thing on the to do list.

I agree, rewashing jars is a pain, but unfortunately, with the little storage we have now, I've been forced to keep all but maybe a few boxes of jars in the pole barn until I needed them. I've been buying a few plastic bins here and there to store them in, and have maybe 12 bins full of jars. But lots of boxes still sitting in the pole barn. I probably have too many, but they break or chip, or I give them away, and I sure don't want to have to buy new if I can prevent it. I generally just pressure can. I don't do a lot of w/b canning, maybe 5 or 6 times a year. I run two pressure canners on the range now (left back and front right), but it's pretty cramped. It's cramped with one canner. If I could just get portable burners for a reasonable price, I would ditch the range. If I had portable burners, I'm not sure I wouldn't just can in the new kitchen or outside on the porch, and use the pantry for meat processing and food storage. Do you have any suggestions for a good portable burner?

Meat processing generally happens Aug-April. Sometimes it's spread out, but years like this, we processed 4 deer, 20 rabbits, and 10 squirrels in one day. Those are the days that I wish I had a dedicated area for processing with everything handy. We occasionally raise a couple pigs and chickens get butchered when it's convenient. If we pluck them, it's all done outside over a fire. Processing isn't overly messy indoors, but it's not something I want to do in my main kitchen either. On a typically deer, we'd have the butcher block out and bring in 1/2 a deer at a time. We use a hand saw for cutting bone-in loins on the butcher block. The rest is just a handful of sharp knives, knife sharpeners, a couple buckets for catching burger meat and scraps and room to lay out the cuts to be wrapped. Then, we clean up the mess and wrap. Generally we keep burger meat in the fridge or freezer until we have a large amount. If I could have a dedicated area for the actual cutting and grinding, and another space for setting the meat, and then another spot for wrapping, it would be a lot faster, but then I'm taking up an incredible amount of space.

Springroz-I just got an email from an auction house that has a bunch of stainless tables and sinks next weekend. I might go just to see what the going rate is. I'd love to do stainless.

Stacylh- Any of the processing equipment will be stored away until needed. It's just a little heavier than my KA mixer, so I don't think a lift is necessary. I hadn't considered putting the paper on the wall, but I bet we can mount the one we have on the wall. That would be much handier.

I can only steal space from the last three feet or so of the stairway, and not all the way to the floor. Maybe counter height and above.

I will look at uprights, but I'm not sure I or dh want to spend the extra money. Our freezer is only a couple years old. Maybe when it breaks. I have everything stored in baskets, so it's pretty quick work. Do you know how many cu. ft. your freezer is? I'd like to get an idea of how much storage space I would have.

I'd prefer to leave the countertop on the left without anything over it. Maybe a shelf at the very top, but no cabinets. Cabinets come down too low with the short ceilings making loading the meat grinder nearly impossible. I'd have to severely shorter then countertops, and I doubt dh would appreciate that very much.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:35PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I appreciate your drive to do this on a dime. We work very similarly. : ) When we butcher, we use a portable island that is about 42" x 30". It's an old counter height dresser with a recycled piece of butcherblock countertop attached to it. SS would be much better, but we used what we had. When it's nice out, we use it outdoors. It's much nicer to butcher out under a pear tree than in the kitchen! (At least as long as the yellow jackets leave us alone.)

I'll give the floorplan a try. Here are some thoughts. We like to butcher in pairs, with each person on opposite sides of the island. It works great for one person to hold and another person to slice (but maybe you are a fair bit handier at butchering than we are as relative newbies.) And, it's nice to be across from each other to talk while we work, too. Your room probably isn't wide enough for a permanent island, but perhaps a mobile cart with locking wheels could be used in there instead. It could roll under the storage shelves when not in use so that the main walkway could be wide and clear. Then when you want to use it, it can be wheeled over to the sink area so that at least one person has easy access to water. It would be useful for big canning sessions, too. I've drawn the mobile cart in red. With some handy cutouts in the wall shelves, you wouldn't lose too much storage space when it was pushed up under them.
The other area that's red is a fold-up piece of counter (or little cart) that can be put up by the sink when you need more countertop, but it can also be folded or wheeled out of the way when you need extra workspace along the stove side.

I like the idea of some of the items flexing to meet the changing needs of the jobs at hand, as well as the growth of your children. They won't stay little very long, and the older they get, the more helpful they'll be. : )

I made the storage shelves extra shallow, thinking that maybe you could bust out the drywall (lath & plaster?) between the studs and store 1 layer of jars in there. It'd make it just a wee bit roomier in there. But, if that's an outside wall, it won't work. : (

Is it possible to put your jars in plastic totes on shelves in the basement? This seems like kind of an ideal location, since the stairs are right there. [Oops, missed the wet basement on my first read through your post.]

I also moved the freezer closer to the kitchen doorway, because it gets used so frequently. (Our freezers are in our basement, so I get a little extra stair workout each day.)

It seems like it would work to attach the roll of freezer paper either to the wall near where you wrap, or to the edge of the table that you wrap meat on. I've seen art tables that have the paper on a roll attached right to the edge of the table, something like these: and Looks like a thick dowel and a simple frame would work in either application. It's almost an overgrown paper towel holder, LOL.

As far as sinks go, another option is to pick up an old enameled kitchen sink with the integrated drainboards. We've used one of those for canning, and it's pretty nice for that. Ours is right next to our stove right now, and it's handy for pulling the sprayer over for filling the pots right on the stove. Hot things can be set on the enameled runnels. I fill the jars right on the runnels, and goopy overflows can be sprayed off pretty easily and swiped down the drain. Some folks have said that the old enamel can possibly have lead in it, if that is something you'd be concerned about it. We just try not to lick ours. ; )

Best wishes on your project. I look forward to seeing what you come up with. : ) I'm sorry the picture came out microsized. Not sure why it's so.

This post was edited by laughable on Thu, Feb 14, 13 at 22:48

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 4:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had to look up the model # of our freezer but found that it is 16.7 cf. We usually have a beef processed every year and it has always fit in there fine. We also have a lot of fish in ours, too.

Do you have a Foodsaver? If not, I'd definitely think it would be worthwhile in your case to have one. My mom got us one for Christmas and I LOVE it!

laughable, I love your comment about the old sinks with runnels. My husband's grandmother had one in her kitchen that we removed after she passed away in order to put in new countertops. We were just talking the other day that we wish we could remember what we did with it because we'd love to have it restored and my husband could use it as his fish cleaning table :)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 6:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for taking the time to explain what the meat processing meant.
Totally get the money saving thing. Can't blame a girl for dreaming though.
Lots of used stainless steel restaurant stuff on Craigslist all the time where I am. You should definitely be able to find some work tables. If not, laminate is awesome.
On the farm I grew up on we did all our butchering and skinning outdoors our work table was an old door with blue tarp wrapped and stapled in place.
I like the freezer where laughable has placed it. You may want to stick with a chest. Of course it is easier to find things in an upright, but I have always heard, that chests stay colder longer and are better for long term storage. Caveat- I have an upright.
I like the sink where you have it in your second drawing, closer to the kitchen.
Regarding the portable burners, I sometimes use my pressure canner on one of those turkey frying burners on my deck. I do everything else in the house, but process outside. It's just too hot in the kitchen some days. I didn't think much about the burner purchase, because it was free. Our dump has "take it or leave it" and after Thanksgiving there is always one or two up for grabs. Portable induction burners are expensive, the one Cook's Illustrated gave the best rating to is $125, it is the Max Burton. And most likely your canner isn't magnetic and won't work on it anyway. Portable electric element burners are cheap, like $30, for a 1000 watt burner. But if you already have the range why not keep it. You can fill it with empty canning jars.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 7:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I love hearing all the accounts of canning and processing! Something I'm not familiar with in detail.

The old kitchen sink sounds like a great idea, and you can probably find one at a decent price somewhere.

It also seems like a DW with sanitize cycle would be great. You can always have a plan for fitting one in, and keep your eyes open for a deal. A cosmetically damaged unit would be fine in a working pantry, or maybe one of those crazy people that rip out a good kitchen just because they can.

I'm intersted to hear thoughts on a locking cart. I'm still trying to get an idea together to throw in the mix.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 7:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have two old kitchen sinks already here. One cast iron, and one enameled steel, both with double drainboards and both sitting in the pole barn. One rusted to the metal cabinet it was sitting on. Both free along with an olive green range with an oven on top. It was pretty awesome, but the top oven didn't work. I tried to find replacement parts, but there were none to be found. I could easily put either sink in there. I had kind of forgotten about them since I knew I wasn't using them in the new kitchen. Definitely not afraid of lead. I grew up with a lot of cast iron sinks through the years without known damage. I don't remember licking the sink though.

Laughable-when we can, we butcher outside, at least the messiest parts. But if I can cut up something at 60 degrees instead of 20 degrees, I'm going inside. We butcher together or by ourselves. If we both aren't doing something else, we try to do it together and get it done faster, but normally one of us is doing something else, and one gets stuck by themselves.

I could probably move some jars to the basement, but not many. The basement is tiny and mostly filled with hot water heater, jet pump for the well, and a water softener. There is some space under the steps that I could utilize though. I just have to hope and pray for dry weather. If it rains a bunch, we get an indoor pool. It's pretty horrific.

Just bare studs in there now, so all of the space in between studs is open. South and east walls are exterior. The basement wall could be used too.

I also like the idea of moveable carts. I need to think this all over. Lots of things to think about.

Stacylh- I do have a foodsaver that I love. And I think your upright is just a hair bigger than our freezer now, so it might be an option. I'll have to do some checking.

Localeater- Before we moved out here, we processed deer at my in-laws on a chest freezer that my FIL kept all of the taxidermy stuff in.

And I definitely don't want to spend $125 on something that won't work. If the electric coil burners are cheap, I might get one just to have handy. I don't find it too inconvenient to find things in the chest freezer, but I rearrange and organize it several times a year so like items stay together, and to make sure that all of the less appealing cuts from the prior year have been used up.

williamsem- it's never too late to take up a new hobby :) Is it bad that I would put cosmetically damaged appliances in my new kitchen? I have kids and I'm not overly careful, they are all bound to be scratched or dented at some point. Just less heartbreaking when they come pre-loved. And I'm open to any and all ideas. Obviously design is flexible, and I'm not too picky. Just trying to get the best use of the space possible.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not bad at all! I'd do scratch and dent if it got me what I wanted! And for a secondary location like a garage, pantry, basement, I'd do gouge and crease too, lol. We ain't fancy folk in our house, but it's gotta work.

And free is always better, if it does the job :-)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I'm talking long term storage, I really only talking about 8-12 months for home-canned jars of food. In my harsh Northern climate I usually only get one short window of harvest for most things that I can. So things that I can, like apricots and peaches, have to last until the next harvest (usually about 48-50 weeks later.)

Frozen stuff is stored for no more than 12 months, at the most. But the key to keeping it in tip-top shape is to avoid small temperature fluctuations caused by opening and closing the freezer a good deal. Each time your frozen food cycles through temp changes it loses a bit of quality. That's why I use an extra-cold quick freeze area. When I stow stuff in my storage freezers, everything is already frozen and vac-packed or sealed in freezer jars and containers.

I don't keep stuff for years, even dry staples. I am not a prepper!

Since you are in the South, your ordinary ambient temps are naturally higher than mine. But if this is an un-airconditioned space then I think you would be smart try to isolate your food storage area from your processing area, both reasons of for temps, and for light exclusion.

You mentioned that renovations of the wood storage area may steal some room from your pantry. How about the reverse - stealing a bit of the wood room for an annex from the pantry into the wood room which is used just for food storage.

My cellar isn't totally dry (and as I have no furnace or boiler in my house there is also nothing to warm or dry it out, either.) One of the reasons I keep all my jarred foods in Rubbermaid-type tubs -aside from darkness - is that I need to protect the lids from humidity that can cause problems by eroding the seals. You might try this test: can some water in pints and store it in your basement in plastic tubs to see how the jars fair over several months. This might lead you to finding additional storage space down there. I do keep grains, beans, and dry staples like sugar down in the basement as well. These are sealed in food-safe, gasketed, plastic containers, which I never open down in the basement No point in innoculating them with whatever lives in the air down there!



    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm in the midwest, so my typical harvests start somewhere in April and end in October. But most of the early and late stuff won't see a freezer or canner. June-August is typically the busiest time, all weather dependent of course. I don't can as much as I'd like to but the last few years have been horrible for gardening. Downpours and soggy ground through the spring and desert like from May-October. This year, we've got a better system through rainwater and grey water collection. I'm hoping that I can do something other than watch as everything burns to a crisp this year.

In the past, we've always kept a small window a/c in the pantry, but the pantry was a lot smaller, maybe 5x8'. It's the only a/c in the house, so food wins out over human comfort here. I think I can keep the pantry area cooler if I insulate all of the walls in the room. That part of the house always stays cooler during the summer, probably from the basement underneath and smaller windows. It's the warmest right now due to the furnace sitting in the open area, but that wall will definitely be insulated when it goes up.

I'm not sure if I can steal any space from the wood storage/furnace room. Mr. MM was pretty clear that he wanted the extra space. I was trying to be clear that we need to eat more than we need firewood inside the house, but I understand not wanting to haul firewood from the wood shed as often either.

I will definitely try pints of water in the basement. I even have a nice jar height plastic bin that I could put them in. I know it's too wet for potatoes down there. But maybe the canned stuff would do ok in totes. I could probably wax the lids to keep them from rusting, since I think that's going to be the biggest issue there.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As for the storage I mentioned earlier, I was thinking you could do shelving above your countertop that was only tall enough and deep enough to hold two levels of canning jars. I'd place the shelving at the ceiling to keep it out of anyone's way.

Also, I erred when giving you our upright freezer's size. It's actually over 20 cf and we got it scratch and dent for less than $300. That was in 2007 and it's worked perfectly since. Definitely something to keep an eye out for :)

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 8:17AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Is there any chance Mr. MM would be interested in reversing the basement stairwell so that you go down from the opposite end? (Mr. Laughable did this to our stairwells to improve our layout when we moved here a few years ago.) I think this would give you about 3' more at the windowed end of the room to play with, giving you about a 9 x 11 processing room with a dark back storage room by the basement doorway.

Personally, I like light and fresh air when working with canning and offal. It might be nice to have the working portion of the space by the windows and the storage back in the dark corner.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

laughable-it's quite possible that the basement steps could be reversed, but the door would then be on the east wall of the pantry. There is a furnace on the other wall. And then I'm not sure there is enough room for a landing space inside the steps to go down that way. I'll just have to ask Mr. MM about the possibilities. It would be nicer to have the space in the working part of the pantry. I'd love to have a window right over the range and could probably get away with no extra exhaust (and expense) if the food isn't stored in there.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 2:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In that space that you could possibly steal from the back of the stairwell (3' or so), could you insert roll out shelves to store your canned goods?

I'm trying to find every nook and cranny of storage for you to not have to trot up and down the stairs :)

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 12:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, if the stairs can indeed be reversed, here is an option. I thought maybe it might be nice to separate the space into 2 separate rooms, 1 strictly for storage for all the boxes of jars and whatnot, and another for working. The storage room walls could have floor to ceiling plywood shelves filled to the brim with boxes of jars. : )

Maybe all the jars with food in them could go on the narrow shelves just inside the door of the processing room where they'd be easy to grab from the kitchen. A curtain (made from sheets or a thrift store quilt?) could be hung over them to keep them out of the light if you don't want to make doors over the shelves.

Again, I apologize for the shrunken picture. It's as big as life in my paint program. I simply pasted one of your pictures from the thread in there and worked on it. But when I bring the picture back in, it's tiny. :/

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 10:19AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not much on layout suggestions, but in case the auction doesn't work out, this stuff might help with sinks, shelving, or tables. John Boos or InterMetro quality? Nope. But I've ordered chrome shelving units from them that were fine.

I used their wall mounted stainless shelves as a cheap, temporary fix in a kitchen. Temporary is stretching into two years. A few of them came damaged -- the rivets popped -- but all i needed to do was send them a picture and they sent new ones. They didn't want the damaged ones back. After a trip to the neighborhood welder, they are laundry storage.

Here is a link that might be useful: tables, etc.

    Bookmark   February 16, 2013 at 10:28AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
New to Kitchens? Read Me First!
Welcome! If you are new to the Kitchens Forum, you...
Conestoga essence line or merrilat classic with upgrades
Has anyone worked with the Conestoga essence line cabinets?...
Anyone have TCE4005 quartz counters (or any other carrara-lookalike)?
Hi there, I'm still in the process of trying to pick...
Melissa Silva
How to view older (undamaged) Gardenweb threads in Google cache
I’m posting this to create a link to refer people...
Review our Kitchen Remodel
We are starting our first kitchen remodel and I wanted...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™