Canning and flat top ranges

lilycrazy(Zone 5- Iowa)September 25, 2005

Happy fall everyone !! I just had a "class" in canning and I have all my supplies- now I'm ready to start working on some simples relishes, pickles, jellies, etc- and I have bought a BWB canner. Now, my PROBLEM is when I was unpacking everything and washing it all, removing stickers, etc etc I noticed in teeny weeny eensy meensy print DO NOT USE ON GLASS COOKTOPS. I'm so depressed !!! Can I NOT use this on my range ?? If not- is it safe to buy one of those single burner dealies you see at Walmart ??

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trixietx(7a TX)

I am on my second (because we moved) glass top range and I have two pressure canners and use them all the time, just don't slide them across the cooktop, so you don't scratch the top.

I was shocked when I realized I was not supposed to use a pressure canner and I had been doing it for years, not one but two, not including the water bath canners!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 10:50PM
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garliclady(z7 NC)

I think the problem with BWB pots are the are not flat. I have a flat top and I use my presser canner pot for a BWB because it has a flat bottom and have another lid I use when using it as a BWB canner.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 11:18PM
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victrola(Z5 Montreal QC)

FWIW, the manual for my flat-top range says not to use pots larger (2" larger in diameter?) than the burner, EXCEPT that canning pots are ok because boiling water doesn't get hotter than 100C (212F if you prefer) which isn't a problem for the range surface... as long as the pot bottom is flat. Read your manual though?

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 11:22PM
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seneca_s(6-7 Idaho)

The single burner dealies don't crack out the heat you need. My canner doesn't have a flat bottom so I either use my propane grill or use the stock pot on the flat top.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2005 at 11:44PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Be sure to check with your stove manufacturer. Some say it is Ok, like Victrola said if it is flat bottomed and not more than 2 inches larger than the diameter of your element. It is possible to crack the glass.
Also, when we tried using one for canning, it took forever to even get the water to boil. I know that some have a sensor that cycles the burner on and off to keep it from cracking. They may not keep it boiling the whole time.
I know one gal that got jelly on her brand new glass top stove and it permanently pitted it.
I don't mean to sound negative, but I don't want you to ruin your stove, either. So, I would definitly check with the manufacturer.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 12:33AM
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garden_witch(z6a MI)

hmmmmm, I have been canning on my flat top, no problems so far except my BWB canner is so large I have to put it over two of the burners on one side.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 8:46AM
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afeisty1(St. Louis)

I've been canning many years on a glass top too. It's already been said to only use a flat bottom pot no more than 1-2 inches larger in diameter. I have yet to find a BWB canner that has a flat bottom. I use a big pasta pot to BWB quarts, and my pressure canner to BWB pints/half pints.

I had blackberry jam boil over onto mine (I was showing a friend how NOT to make blackberry jam - LOL) and managed to get it all cleaned up before it cemented.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 8:58AM
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lilycrazy(Zone 5- Iowa)

Well, I DO have a side burner on my grill, so I may go that route- I also have a big pot that I'm sure the rack will fit it- I could give that a shot- and if nothing else, at least I have the grill... Thanks for all the answers !! I will definitely check my owners manual and see what that says too.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 9:12AM
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mellyofthesouth(9a FL)

I canned for the last 2.5 years (while we were in Virginia) on a glass top stove. Mine said not to use any pots that extend more than 1 inch past the burner (which of course would be more that 2 inches larger in diameter). I used a big stock pot with a flat bottom and the presto 23 qt pressure cannner pot (as a bwb) since it also has a flat bottom. I didn't have any problems. I confess when I was filling the pot for the bwb, turned the faucet all the way to hot. It didn't take too long for the already hot water to come to a boil. I didn't have any problem maintaining a boil either.

The largest burner on the little cooktop (less than 23 inches wide) in this house is only 8 inches. You should have seen me try to fit 3 pots on it at the same time the other day. I haven't decided whether I'm going to try to can on it or not. As soon as the electrician returns our call and puts an outlet on its own circuit, we'll be issued an american style range. We want it for the oven. The little microwave convection combo oven in the house has a usable space of 12 inces wide and 8.5 inches tall. I have very few pans that will actually fit in it.

Anyway, good luck.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 9:46AM
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wdent803(z5 MI)

We can jellie at the inlaws on a glass top stove.

Like the others said make sure the bottom of the pan is flat.

Also while stirring dont move the pot because it will scratch the stove

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 10:09AM
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garden_witch(z6a MI)

Ok, I'm confused now.... By flat on the bottom do you mean not rounded or without ridges? And what difference is there between one that is flat-bottomed and one that isn't?

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 12:09PM
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afeisty1(St. Louis)

The BWB has a "concave" bottom, meaning there's two levels. The outer level would be the piece that meets the cooktop, while the inner circle or "concave" part would never touch the cooktop and why only flat bottomed pans are recommended.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 3:18PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Just finished two small batches of stuff and had just bent back the sunken burner. Now its nearly inside the bowl of the stove and the steel struts that are supposed to support it are all sagging. all that heat is the cause and theres no way to keep the electric burners from sagging into the stove.. Guess I need to get spare elements every year I can stuff

    Bookmark   September 26, 2005 at 6:27PM
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garden_witch(z6a MI)

Ok, the bottom of one of my canners is ridged, will that make a difference? It seems to be working ok so far, the water boils =)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 8:46AM
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I have purchased a Jenn-Air stove with a glass top. I purchased a special coil canning element to use for canning. I had to purchase a conventional coil two burner element to insert on one side of the stove, and then take one of those coils out to insert the special raised canning element. It is called a Big Pot Canning Element (model A145A if you would like to do a Jenn-Air google search)

I was bummed to spend the extra $$ for not one, but two stovetop accessories, but now that I have it I really like it a lot. I keep it on the stove and use it all the time for all kinds of cooking. It brings water to a boil much faster than the glass top. And I can finally stir fry with a good amount of heat.

Here is a link that might be useful: Link to Big Pot Canning Element at Repair Clinic

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 9:15AM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

Gardenwitch, it is supposed to be totally flat on the bottom if you are using a glass top stove. Same with electric stove. The ridged ones are for gas stoves.
Here is some info and the link.
Boiling Water Bath Canning
When buying a boiling water bath canner it is important that the canner be deep enough so that at least 1 inch of briskly boiling water will be over the tops of the jars during processing. If you have an electric range you must use a flat bottomed water bath canner to get the best transfer of heat. Either a flat or a ridged bottom boiling water bath canner can be used on a gas burner. To ensure uniform processing of all jars with an electric range, the canner should be no more than four inches wider in diameter than the element on which it is heated. However for flat top stoves, canners should be flat and 2 inches wider than the diameter of the element.

Here is a link that might be useful: Buying a BWB canner.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2005 at 5:22PM
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gardengrl(Northern Virginia)

O.k., you guys are confusing me. Let me see if I can add this up:

#1 - If I buy a BWB Canner for my Whirlpool electric stove, I cannot use it because it has a concave bottom.

#2 - However, I can do BWB canning on my electric stove in a large pot (stock pot?) that is flat AND large enough to cover my jars by at least one inch.

#3 - However (again), if I want to use a brand-name BWB Canner (Presto, All-American) on my electric stove, I must buy a special canning heating element for my stove. This new element rests higher on my stove, versus the regular heating elements, allowing the concave area of the canner to come into contact with the new element; therefore, providing the best transfer of heat.

Is this right?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2005 at 3:59PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)


  1. A regular BWB canner with the ridged bottom should not be used on your electric stove. (Did you mean boiling water bath or pressure?)Either way, they need to be flat. I have always used my Presto pressure canner on the electric stove, when I had one. ( I have a gas stove now.)
    There used to be a flat bottom aluminum BWB canner on the market, but I can't seem to find a link to it. I think there is one that is enamel on the outside, but it is not speckled, just plain blue, too.
    2.You can use a plain stock pot that is flat. I know some of the discount stores have inexpensive ones. You are right, the water needs to come up over the jars by 1-2 inches and have room to boil
    3.I would highly suggest the canning element or most likely you will destroy yours. I can speak from experience, as I did that before I knew about the canning elements. The canning elements are nice. My friend has one. She leaves it on so she can stir fry, too.
    Bookmark   September 28, 2005 at 6:09PM
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garden_witch(z6a MI)

But the water did boil very briskly, and was better than an inch over the jars. All the salsa I just made is still good, right?

    Bookmark   September 28, 2005 at 10:07PM
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gardengrl(Northern Virginia)

Linda Lou,

Thanks, now I know that I must buy either a flat bottomed BWB canner or Pressure canner (or both):-) for canning on my electric stove. I also know I need to buy a special heating element. From what I've heard, it might be easier to find a huge stock pot that a flat BWB canner.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 10:52AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

The botton of my aluminium canner is convuluted and wavy. I planned to cut off the sides of a big stainless steel pot that I saved, that had been overheated and had cracked at the top bead. Its a laminated base about a 1/4 inch thick and should give me a better heat distribution so that my electric burners don't sink into my stove like they do now. I would place this on the stove burner and then put my canner on top of that.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2005 at 6:07PM
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barton(z6b OK)

Sorry to resurrect a thread a year old..
I have a small garden and don't have too many tomatoes at once so I didn't want to do a gas burner outdoors.
I bought a flat-bottom stock pot at WalMart for about $20, and four jars fit inside with room to spare. My Whirlpool glass-top range has a burner just the right size. It heated up very quickly and kept boiling briskly even when I turned the heat down. I kept an eye on it.
My question is about using the stock pots without a rack to separate the jars. They do shift a little during processing so the edges of the jars sometimes touch. Is this OK?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 3:37PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Edges of jars are OK to touch, but the jars should never be placed directly on the metal bottom of the pot. This can cause the jars to crack. The racks surve a twofold operation. They hold the jars vertical and allow you to remove all the jars at once, as well as elevating them off the bottom.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2006 at 8:45PM
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shammierock(5blue water/MI)

Just get one of those round metal cooling racks that will fit in the pan and set the jars on that, or use canning jar rings to line the bottom of the pan. I finally found 2 sizes of racks, because when I do half pints I sometimes use a big pot instead of a canner. If the sides touch, they could break. In home ec years ago, we were taught to cushion the jars with old dish towels between them. BTW, I have a glass top stove and I use all kinds of pans on it, some flat bottoms and some not flat. Shammie

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 8:38PM
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silver_creek(z8a WA)

Our local restaurant supply store has "pizza screens"- aluminum woven screen meant to crisp a pizza crust- in sizes from 8" in diameter up to 16". I use a large stock pot for canning small batches of jam but my old rack had gotten so rusty- a 10" pizza screen worked great as a new rack. It also works when I stack pints in my big pressure canner.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2006 at 9:37PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Kitcken Krafts offers a nice stainless steel wire rack, which should last many years.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 9:28AM
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barton(z6b OK)

Thanks to all for your help! ksrogers, I will look for the stainless steel wire rack, and for the pizza screens suggested by silver_creek. Sounds like either would work.

Shammie, I use my cast iron skillets on my glass top, carefully. Still looks great after 4 years. One skillet is just a little indented on the bottom but heats evenly. On the other hand, I have a stainless steel sauce pan, nice and heavy, but with a bottom more deeply indented. It has trouble coming to a boil and I've quit using it. So I've never tried the big canner.

Good point about the jars bumping together and breaking. I was thinking only about them maybe not heating evenly if they touch. Good to know the heating isn't a problem. Here's a thought: could I tie a piece of poly baling twine around each jar to prevent them from bumping into each other?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 11:33PM
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Linda_Lou(SW Wa.)

You don't really need to be that concerned with the jars bumping together. As long as you have a rack in the bottom so they don't break, that is enough. I prefer using the flat rack from my pressure canner in the boiling water bath, too, instead of the wire rack that came with it.
I also got some good racks that are meant for a small bbq grill I use in my canner,too. Found at the thrift store for 99 cents. Even a folded towel on the bottom is fine to use instead of a rack.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2006 at 12:09AM
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I use an old ridged bottom canning pot to brew my beer. Just bought flat top stove and don't want to destroy it

    Bookmark   March 13, 2011 at 4:57PM
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