Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Sep 6, 2012 08:22 AM

Kitchen fatigue

I’m in canning madness now and it’s exhausting (yet rewarding!). Although fatigue is expected when canning, here are some things that help. I’m spreading out the work over several hours each day to avoid wearing myself out. It also helps to stay hydrated, take breaks when possible, and wear sneakers for support. (I’m seriously thinking of wearing my hiking boots. LOL.) How do you deal with kitchen fatigue?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Recruit help! All canning is much more fun with extra hands.

    2 Replies
    1. re: dkenworthy


      30 pounds of tomatoes for salsa was a blast when I could share it with my best friend. I'd have given up if I'd had to do even 15 pounds by myself.

      1. re: dkenworthy

        DH helps me each year when we make tomato sauce. We do ~25 lb. at a time and it really helps to have him do his part.

      2. Sit when you can - like when prepping your produce and filling the jars. Get cushiony mats from a kitchen or restaurant supply store and put them in front of sink and stove.

        1. I'm in the same boat as you. Been canning tons for the past month or so, processing 40+ lbs of tomatoes a week. Got 60 quarts so far. I do most of my canning in the late afternoon/evening when I get home from work. I can usually squeeze in 6-7 quarts in a night.

          I just make sure everything is prepped and ready the night before, so when I get home I can get right into it without all the hassle of setting everything up. Jars are washed and sterilized, and completely covered in plastic on the counter. Empty pots are on the stove, ready to be filled with water. Tomatoes have been picked and washed and are ready for the boiling water to skin.

          My kitchen is ultra small so I'm basically spinning in circles, although music does help me move quicker. Take breaks often and stretch out. My back is the first thing that hurts when I'm standing over the sink peeling tomatoes for what seems like an eternity.

          6 Replies
          1. re: Novelli


            I don't can, but I will one day.

            I do however have a suggestion for your back. Years ago I hurt mine and it helped very much when standing at the sink or counter to spread my feet wide apart--thereby brining my height down and bending less. It may seem awkward at first, but when your back is sore it's a big help.

            Happy canning.


            1. re: SeaSide Tomato

              I will give it a try and see if that helps! Thanks!
              I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm in flip flops the entire time either. LOL

              1. re: Novelli

                If your sink has cabinets below, open up a cabinet and place one foot in. Alternate. This will relieve pressure on your back.

                1. re: monavano

                  This works incredibly well. (37 years and counting of back pain after a severe injury.) What I've found that works even better is using the rolling step stool that I keep in the kitchen - like this one: Having the many positioning options (two levels, moves with an easy kick) it gives me during a long prep process helps so much in avoiding pain and spasms. It's really become one of my essential kitchen tools.

              2. re: SeaSide Tomato

                Great suggestion. If possible, lean your elbows on the edge of the sink or counter once in a while.

              3. re: Novelli

                An old-but-useful suggestion for back pain during long standing: elevate feet alternately. Can be as simple as opening the undersink cabinet and putting one foot onto the cabinet base, and alternate. I use this folding stepstool, it's light and easy to kick side to side:


                These ideas aren't helpful for when you're flitting around though lol!

              4. LOL on the hiking boots. I have to can in small batches. I can be overzealous and that's where the trouble and fatigue come in. I also have an organized kitchen but very small kitchen which helps with the stress... I try to do goods that I like, that make me happy, keeping the objective as incentive.

                1. I second the cusioned mats. They work so well. Great for the back as well. I bought some at costco last year for $20 each... best purchase ever.