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Old 01-03-2010, 03:11 PM   #1
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Designing a Seasonal Canning Kitchen

I need some advice.

I'm going to be building a new home next year, which will be a relatively small cottage in the country (1,396 sq ft) built on the edge of an heirloom fruit orchard and large organic garden. The cottage is currently still in the design phase, but nearly complete.

I'm going to be doing a lot of canning and preserving, but know of the headaches and inconveniences of doing a lot of canning in your own kitchen during the hottest months of the year. I want to avoid these inconveniences by adding a small separate "summer canning kitchen" that is close to the main kitchen, but still completely separate from it, allowing me to keep the associated steam and heat and chaos confined to its own space.

I've got a couple of challenges, the primary one being available space. I'm intentionally building a small house because I've spent enough years in a home heating and cleaning a lot of house that just wasn't being used. So I hired an architect who has done a great job keeping holding the reigns and making sure I'm only building as much house as I truly need. The result of this is that I've got a room measuring only 7' x 8' in which to create this seasonal canning kitchen. Fortunately, it's only 5 feet and two doors away from the main kitchen in the house.

I'd really value some input from the canning experts out there in taking this 7' x 8' room and maximizing the capabilities of this new space. I'm new to larger-scale canning and therefore don't know how best to design this space and what exactly I'm going to need.

Foremost, I will be making sure that this space is as well-ventilated as possible, both with a ventilation fan as well as a 12" x 72" dormer window above the workspace that can be opened as needed.

The basic components I believe I'm going to need for this canning kitchen are:
1) A couple of high-output burners (22,000 BTU) that can be used indoors.
2) A utility sink.
3) A prep area (with butcher block)
4) A full counter work space for canning and the subsequent cooling, labeling and packing of what I've canned.
5) As much storage as I can allocate for canning supplies, both in the way of counter space and cupboard space.
6) Waste containers for hauling off organic material to the compost area.

Beyond these, I'm at a loss.

I'd really appreciate some expert advice in how to design and equip this space. One advantage that I've got is that a full kitchen will indeed just be 5 feet away, so I'll be able to use that space as well for things that aren't going to fill the house with heat and steam (dishwasher, refrigerator, extra sink and counter top space, etc.)

I'm envisioning two 8' long counters (24" deep) with a 36" wide aisle between them. A utility sink will be part of one counter, or possible at the opposite end of the room between the counters. I'll also have two high-output burners for accommodating both a 40 quart stock pot and a 40 quart pressure cooker/canner.

Here's where I hit the wall though and need your advice.

Would any of you experts be kind enough to offer me some advice as to how YOU would set up a seasonal canning kitchen given the space constraints I've got to work with?

By the way, here's a part of the floorplan that will give you an overview of the main kitchen and where it will sit relative to the canning kitchen:








Thanks in advance for your input!



John

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Old 01-07-2010, 10:07 AM   #2
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No responses at ALL? After nearly a WEEK?

Is there no one on here who knows anything about canning?


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Old 01-20-2010, 11:30 AM   #3
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The only thing I can think of is that if you are going to be doing large-scale canning and you're building a small cottage... where will you properly store your jars when you're finished?

Other than that, no ideas because the thought of having a dedicated canning space (and I can A LOT, both pressure and water bath all year around from veggies to meat to stews to jams) seems like a waste of space. I'd rather have one or two great burners on my stove and use the space to set up a root cellar for storing everything.
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:08 PM   #4
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Crumbs, John. I can't believe no-one has answered - there are some serious canners on this site. And much as velochic thinks it's a waste of space, I don't because in fact I'm half thinking of doing something very similar to you but have absolutely no idea what would be required.

I live in Europe, so I'm going to ask you a question. A 40-quart pressure cooker - is that 80 pints, as in ten gallons? That sounds enormous to a total beginner like me.

Guys, any advice would be welcomed, not just by John but by me.
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
The only thing I can think of is that if you are going to be doing large-scale canning and you're building a small cottage... where will you properly store your jars when you're finished?

Other than that, no ideas because the thought of having a dedicated canning space (and I can A LOT, both pressure and water bath all year around from veggies to meat to stews to jams) seems like a waste of space. I'd rather have one or two great burners on my stove and use the space to set up a root cellar for storing everything.
I'll have two root cellars in the basement of this little house, each with different temperature and humidity conditions for storing different produce. These root cellars will be immediately beneath the main kitchen in the cottage and accessed via the stairs immediately outside of this canning kitchen.





If I'm going to be doing a ton of canning, with large pots steaming away for hours on end during the hottest time of the year, I'd rather have that steam and heat kept isolated from the cottage and self-contained in (and ventilated from) this little seasonal canning kitchen. Make sense?

My original plans were just to have two powerful individual burners for canning, but a few people convinced me to just go with a full cooktop, so I'll be using one with 5 burners, the most powerful of which will be able to adjust from 18,000 BTUs down to 450. Here's the particular model I'll be using:





If all goes as planned, it should be a piece of cake getting things directly into the root cellars.

I appreciate your feedback.



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Old 01-20-2010, 01:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snoop Puss View Post
I live in Europe, so I'm going to ask you a question. A 40-quart pressure cooker - is that 80 pints, as in ten gallons? That sounds enormous to a total beginner like me.

Guys, any advice would be welcomed, not just by John but by me.

Yes, that would be 10 gallons. I've got a ton of marinara sauce each year to can! :)


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Old 01-20-2010, 01:38 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
The only thing I can think of is that if you are going to be doing large-scale canning and you're building a small cottage... where will you properly store your jars when you're finished?

Other than that, no ideas because the thought of having a dedicated canning space (and I can A LOT, both pressure and water bath all year around from veggies to meat to stews to jams) seems like a waste of space. I'd rather have one or two great burners on my stove and use the space to set up a root cellar for storing everything.
I agree 100% with velochic. I don't feel I need a separate room for canning, and I also do a lot of canning (in hot and humid southern Ohio). And storage space is more of a concern to me, than building a separate room for canning. If you are doing that much canning that you need a separate room to process the food, then that is a heck of a lot of canned goods.

Just how much canning are you planning to do? How many quart or pint jars?

Frankly, the original post just had me shaking my head...I do not have the problems the OP imagines. My advice is to use the existing kitchen for canning, and then make changes as you see the need.

Why don't you utilize your architect for this issue? What problems have you encountered when you "canned tons of marinara sauce"?
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Old 01-20-2010, 01:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethzaring View Post
I agree 100% with velochic. I don't feel I need a separate room for canning, and I also do a lot of canning (in hot and humid southern Ohio). And storage space is more of a concern to me, than building a separate room for canning. If you are doing that much canning that you need a separate room to process the food, then that is a heck of a lot of canned goods.

My advice is to use the existing kitchen for canning, and then make changes as you see the need.

Bethzaring:

My original question wasn't whether to have this little canning kitchen, but rather how best to design it, given the space I've got to work with.

If you wouldn't use one yourself, that's terrific. But it doesn't address my question.

As for quantity, I'll be canning approximately 486 quarts of various forms of tomatoes and tomato sauce, along with 54 quarts of roasted peppers.

Total? 30 cases.




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Old 01-20-2010, 01:58 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Diavolicchio View Post
Bethzaring:

My original question wasn't whether to have this little canning kitchen, but rather how best to design it.

If you wouldn't use one yourself, that's terrific. But it's also not particularly relevant.



John
forgive me, I thought you were asking for advice from experienced canners. Maybe you should rely on your own extensive canning experiences then.
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Old 01-20-2010, 02:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bethzaring View Post
forgive me, I thought you were asking for advice from experienced canners. Maybe you should rely on your own extensive canning experiences then.
Bethzaring,

I asked HOW to design something, not whether to design it. Regardless of whether you have 4 days or 40 years of experience doing canning under your belt, your response to the question wasn't relevant.

Why would I care whether YOU'D want or need or see the benefit of having a separate canning kitchen? It would be like me asking for advice on building a house, and you chiming in that YOU don't need one. Frankly, who CARES whether you do?



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