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I'm only now seeing this-- so I hope I'm not too late at getting my .02's in on this.
I can quite a bit and we had a flat top stove in our last home. It worked just fine.
Now, I didn't like our flat top stove there. I don't remember the brand name of it. But, the way the edges around the stove top were designed, it was difficult to clean. But it heated just fine for my canning.
I use a steam canner, not the full water bath. This method works beautifully without the extreme heat of having to heat up so much water. I don't know if this would make any difference.
But I never had any problem with my canning on my flat top stove.
I've now got a gas stove. Haven't had the opportunity to can much with it-- yet. But, with what I've read in this post, I think I'm looking forward to it! ;-)
Hope this helps you!
I successfully made and processed my jam during strawberry and raspberry season, using my smooth top stove. I found a smaller rack that fits nicely inside my big stockpot so that was the waterbath canner. For big jobs (peaches, applesauce) I plan do to my usual routine of using the two burner propane cooker outside for running the waterbath. The pressure canner seems to be smooth enough on the bottom - or I might end up doing the processing down at dad's since he'll be picking and probably snapping the beans for me anyway :) I might choose to run a test batch of, say, water in pint jars in the pressure canner just to get a feel for how it runs and not risk ruining a whole load if it looks like I just need to yank the whole works off the burner.
I've seen this question come up frequently.
I do a lot of canning myself. I currently have a gas stove and love it. But I had a flat top, too, and it canned just fine-- no problems at all! I didn't particularly care for the flat top, as it wasn't the easiest to clean-- food getting stuck around the risen edges and all that. But I had no problems at all with it.
Now, I have heard what's been mentioend here too-- that there are some designs of flat-top stoves that have elements that shut themselves off at certain temperatures. If you're still considering a flat-top, do not get one of those, because they won't keep a consistent heat.
But I think it's been covered pretty well here. I know you'll make the best decision for you, your kitchen, and your canning! Best wishes!
I had a smooth top. it was beautiful but a pain in the rear to clean. the large burner burned out in less than 3 yrs. i canned with the water bath canner on it but the pressure canner would not work because the heat element pulsed & it couldn't/wouldn't maintain the heat long enough to blow steam & you cannot use a pressure canner if it doesn't blow stem. we found it cheaper to replace with a new coil top than have it repaired. easier to clean & I wouldn't trade back to a smooth top ever again.
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