While canning on an electric stove is no different than on gas, ceramic- or glass-topped stoves can be a challenge to canners. Some manufacturers do not recommend canning on their stove tops at all, while others have strict rules to ensure success. Review the manufacturer’s recommendations for your stove before proceeding. The weight of a large canner filled with jars and water might crack the top of a ceramic or glass stove.
If your ceramic- or glass-topped stove is approved for canning, only boiling water-bath canning is appropriate, as the temperatures cannot be modulated sufficiently for pressure canning to be safe. Use flat-bottomed pots, so the entire surface is in contact with the burner. Make sure the pot is no larger than the circumference of the burner. Never slide the pot. Always lift it when placing it on or taking it off the stove.
(Stephen A. Behrens/PHOTO BY STEPHEN A. BEHRENS) - Cathy Barrow's water-bath canned tomatoes, processed in a pot on the outdoor grill.
How do I can salsa and chutney? What about ketchup?
Salsa, chutney and ketchup are three classic condiments prepared from tomatoes. Each contains onions and garlic, which require a good ratio of acid to keep them botulism-free. (See the question on pressure canning.) Most salsa, chutney and ketchup recipes include sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and other preserving agents, but the proper balance is essential for safety.
For preparations you plan to can for long-term storage, it’s best to use time-tested recipes and follow their instructions to the letter. For many salsa recipes, particularly, pressure canning is the safest way to go.
Are the recipes in my antique preserving book safe? My grandmother’s sauce recipe is delicious. How do I make sure it’s safe for canning?
Rebecca Davis, project leader at the University of Maryland Extension Office, recommends using only recipes printed since 1997. Many new rules have come about with the changes in varieties of vegetables available, the return of heirloom crops and new food science information. Above all, be safe when you can.
If you are determined to can your grandmother’s recipe and you want do so safely, you might contact Martin Lo at firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s a food science professor at the University of Maryland who operates a private laboratory that can test your recipe for a fee.
For more information, go to www.pickyourown.org and the National Center for Home Food Preservation. Barrow, who blogs at www.mrswheelbarrow.com, will join today’s Free Range chat at noon: live.washingtonpost.com.