Canning Cupboard


Storing Home Canned Goods

It’s important to store your home canned meats, fruits and vegetables properly. Cool temperatures and dark conditions help to retain the color, flavor, and nutrients of your canned goods. You also need to make sure that the shelving will hold the weight of all the glass jars and their contents. They are quite heavy, especially when you put several dozen jars on a shelf. Particle board won’t cut it…and don’t buy any of those pre-fab shelving units made of ‘MDF’ (medium density fiberboard).

Plywood and pine will hold up fairly well as long as you don’t put up long stretches without enough brackets to support the load. I’ve also used the heavy duty plastic shelving units to store my canned goods. But if you are handy, or you’re blessed with a handy Dad (like me!), you can build a really cool canning cupboard that will hold the weight of your canned goods, plus keep the light, dust, and cats off them! I can’t give you instructions to build this cabinet, but there are plenty of plans available online. Instead, I’d like to show off my Dad’s handiwork and the beauty of this wood.

The red pine canning cupboard my Dad made!

A Homemade Canning Cupboard

Made in the USA by my Dad!

My Dad’s made some really nice things for me. I have two bookcases, an end table, and a stool that he made for me in the past, some of them from my childhood. When my parents came to visit for our 25th anniversary, they brought this awesome canning cabinet that Dad made for us. He built one for their canned goods and then wondered if I would like one too. Well, naturally I jumped on that offer like a cat on a mouse!

This cabinet is very special to me, not just because my Dad made it (although that is reason enough), but also because of the lumber used to make it. The gorgeous red pine (Pinus resinosa) was planted by my Grandma M, along with her parents (my Great Grandma and Great Grandpa D) and her brother, my Uncle Lyle. My Grandma was a year or 3 shy of 20 when they planted a stand of Red Pine on the land that my Dad later inherited. I remember my Dad climbing into the tops of a few of those pines to cut our Christmas tree when I was young. I loved riding horseback through the shade of the pines, where there was little underbrush.

The pines that they planted are growing old, and many of the trees they planted have fallen or are tipping. My Dad has been harvesting the lumber for a few years now. He takes the felled trees to an Amish sawmill nearby for processing.


I love the color and grain of this wood. Red pines are so named because of the reddish color of their wood. My photos don’t do justice to the beauty of the lumber. I’m so happy to have another piece of furniture made by my Dad, from trees he dragged out of the woods and hauled to the sawmill. To think of my youthful Grandma planting out seedlings makes me appreciate the history of this cabinet. It’s life began well before my Dad fashioned it’s current form. You can’t buy that at the lumber yard.


Have you harvested your own lumber and made furniture from it?


Update: I’ve had several people ask me for more information about the size of my canning cupboard, so I measured.

Here are the (outside) dimensions of the canning cupboard…
41″ wide
20″ deep
64″ tall (including little wheels for moving the cupboard)
The top shelf is 8″ tall and the rest of the shelves are 9″ tall.
(distance is the space between the shelves, which are a good 1″ thick…solid pine)
My Dad made the cupboard so that quart size jars will fit on all of the shelves, although the top shelf is often used for pints and half pints.
He built it with strips of wood that run vertically in each corner on the inside of the side panels to hold the shelves in place (they run from the top of one shelf to the bottom of the top shelf, helping to support the shelf) and also there are supporting strips of wood placed vertically in the center where there is a wood piece that separates the doors. He also attached each shelf with either a screw or a dowel rod from the outside of the cabinet (on the sides) through the wood into the edges of the shelves. (If he actually used screws, the then fit a small piece of dowel into each hole and glued in place…I need to check with him on that.)
The whole cabinet is very solid and could probably withstand several stout people sitting on it…if they felt like climbing up there!

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