A common question about canning foods is, “Is it OK to can on my ceramic or glass stovetop?”

First, check the recommendations of the particular stove’s manufacturer. Some say absolutely not, while others say it is OK, but with certain stipulations.

The general recommendation for canning is that the canner not be more than 2 inches wider than the burner or heating element. With a ceramic or glass stovetop, this is an even greater concern because of damage that can occur. When the canner sits on the hot burner, it reflects heat back down on the stovetop. When the canner is wider, it reflects and traps more heat. These non-burner surfaces are not designed to handle that much heat and can be damaged by discoloration, burner damage, cracking the stovetop or fusing the metal pot to the glass stovetop.

Another concern with this type of stovetop is that if a canner is dragged across the top, it can scratch the cooking surface. This must be avoided, even when the canner is full and heavy.

Many glass stovetops have auto-shutoffs, which can prevent sufficient heating. The stove is designed to shut off when heat is excessive. However, if the heat shuts off during the canning process, the required continuous processing time cannot be reached, resulting in food that is not safely canned.

A stove with a smooth top requires a flat bottom canner to work properly. For boiling water canning, a large, flat, smooth-bottomed stock kettle can be used by inserting a rack inside the kettle to keep jars off the bottom of the pot. Canning rings can also be used to elevate the jars. The pot must be big enough to fill the water to 1 to 2 inches above the tops of the jars and to allow boiling water to circulate around the jars. Some pressure canner makers are making flat, smooth-bottomed pressure canners, but it is recommended to check with the stove manufacturer to make sure they will work properly and safely together.