Canning season is in full swing, and a common question I get asked each year is, "Can I use my glass or ceramic cooktop when canning?” To answer this question, begin by contacting your cooktop manufacturer to find out what they recommend.
But then I want you to ask yourself, "Is it a good idea to use my ceramic cooktop when canning?" To help you determine whether it is wise to use your ceramic cooktop while canning, there are a few fundamentals, we need to review so that you can make an informed decision.
Glass or ceramic cooktops are popular with many homeowners because of their sleek, low-profile, smooth surface; however, they are not ideal for home canning. These cooktops are made from tempered ceramic glass with a heating element underneath them. And although ceramic-glass cooktops may seem all the same, there are different options, such as radiant, halogen, and semi-halogen, each having unique features, so it’s important to know the type of cooktop you are working with.
Special Care for Glass Cooktops
Since these cooktops are tempered glass, they are more vulnerable to scratching and can easily become cracked by dropping items on them. And although designed to withstand high temperatures, extended heat exposure can create enough stress to break the glass. Additionally, if there is food residue on the cooking surface, hot spots can occur, further damaging the cooktop. Thus, it is important to immediately clean any spills once they've occurred.
Kettles and pans should be flat with a smooth bottom to provide stability and, more importantly, allows heat to be disbursed evenly. The cookware should not have rounded-edge bottoms, as this may cause uneven heating, which can place unnecessary stress on the ceramic glass. Therefore the traditional ridged aluminum or porcelain-covered steel pots used in water bath canners are not recommended for use on these cooktops.
Additionally, the diameter of the burner should be large enough to adequately allow for even heating throughout the pot. Unfortunately, ceramic cooktops may not be able to meet the maximum diameter needed for canners.
Heavy or abrasive cookware. Heavy or abrasive cookware can damage the surface of the cooktop. Thus, paying close attention to the manufacturer's weight restrictions for your cooktop is essential.
A general rule of thumb for weight restrictions on these cooktops is fifty pounds. However, contact your manufacturer for specific information regarding your particular cooktop. With that said, you will need to be mindful of the weight of the items placed on the cooktop. You may exceed the weight recommendation depending on the type of canner used and the number of jars processed.
Additionally, use special care when moving canners. Avoid sliding or pulling the canner, which can scratch and damage the cooktop.
Most newer electric cooktops have built-in safety features with sensors that will cycle the burner off and on while on high to prevent damage from occurring due to extreme temperatures. If the cooktop remains on for an extended time, the sensors can turn off the burner after a set time. This further reduces the likelihood of damage to the cooktop due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures.
Thus, these safety features, coupled with the extended processing time needed for some canned goods, make ceramic cooktops less ideal candidates for home canning.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation does not recommend ceramic cooktops for canning for a good reason, considering the many previously discussed factors. However, each brand and model of ceramic cooktops will be slightly different, so always begin by reading your manual and speaking with the manufacturer.
Range & Cooktop – Cooktop Surface Weight Limit. GE Appliances
Burning Issue: Canning on Smooth Cooktops. National Center for Home Food Preservation