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Apartment Homestead: Setting up a food store.

​I love canning. 2018 has marked the year that I began looking into all that I can can. Started with lemonade concentrate, then ready to drink lemonade, salsa made with homegrown tomatoes, strawberry preserves, peaches (family tradition). My mom missed out on peaches this year, when she came back we decided to can spaghetti sauce and tomato soup. We're hooked. We're canning all that we can. My pantry (being the small apartment pantry it is) quickly spilled to the linen closet. Not to mention the standard shelving is not strong enough to hold all the weight of the jars. Kitchen shelves had began to bow in. This is when my husband, a strong supporter in my continued food preserving efforts came up with a solution. Plans were drawn the next day.

It's nothing spectacular and it was a simple half-day project. I've seen plenty of canners pantries but I wanted my shelves to be measured to fit specific jars and we were able to maximize our materials doing this. We used recycled wood from a garden bed that was never built. I'm going to show the process we went through, materials that we used will be listed at the very bottom. First step was cleaning off all the dirt the wood collected in the one year it was in our backyard. Yes, I'm wearing house slippers!

I like the idea of my jars fitting snugly in each cubby so I measured each sized jar and rounded up. If you plan on doing this, measure the regular mouth jars for sizing as they are taller than the wide mouth. The garden bed we had the wood in mind for was a 4x8 raised bed. My husband wanted the shelf to be about 5' tall. Which was perfect because I'm 5'4'' so I can easily reach, check and see all the jars. Because of the wood we were working with we made the shelves 2 ft wide so that we would get 6 shelves total. We measured and marked everything very precise. Measure twice cut once right.

My husband did all the cutting of the shelves with his Skil skill saw made super quick cuts which helped keep out lines straight. I'm sure our neighbors loved that! This isn't our first project using power tools and it definitely wont be our last. No complaints yet. We propped the wood up on some unused cinder-blocks we've had laying around also for another garden bed.

We've had some problems getting his drill to drive screws into the wood before, so this time we decided to use his Rayobi cordless power drill and a drill bit to pilot holes on the standing legs of the shelves. This added time to the project, but made it so much easier and less frustrating when it came to putting the screws in. We had to take a lunch break because the battery started to die about 3/4's of the way done with piloting.

This is where we realized a flaw in our precise measurements. The wood we were using wasn't so precise. Being out in the elements the wood had warped and we didn't notice until things weren't lining up when we sunk the very first screws in. All in all it worked out alright. When my husband was helping us juice pomegranates he got an idea to stain something with some of the juice. So we sent that on a test drive. I had watered down the pomegranate juice so that it gave more of a tint rather that a bold pink stain. We would have liked the color to show through a bit more though.

All in all we've very pleased with the way the shelf turned out.

Materials used:

Skil skill saw

Ryobi power drill

Small drill bit head for piloting

Phillips head drill bit

3 - 8x6 pine boards 1.5" thick

72 - 2'' screws

Sand paper

Pomegranate juice for shelf stain

Coconut oil for leg stain

Some of the link below are affiliate links, meaning, at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

#canning #shelf #project #homestead #homesteading #apartment #pantry #masonjars #storage

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