drop burner height for large pots

four_season_annieOctober 31, 2012

We finished our "guesthouse" about 6 months ago, living in it full time. While we save for the "dream house" I have plenty of time to plan. And wait for my dozens of new fruit trees to start bearing.

I did some canning on my old gas stove in my previous house. Guesthouse has a glass cooktop, which we love. We may even move that stove to the new place. But for now I am canning on a turkey fryer propane burner in the garage with the door open. Not the most excellent solution.

I foresee the canning effort multiplying as our fruit trees mature. For the new kitchen, I am thinking about installing a single high output electric burner at a lower height, maybe even 24". No reaching up and over a boiling pot sounds good. Or lifting a huge pot of water that high. I can imagine using a big pot for parties too. We've done crawfish boils and posole for 40 or more, on occasion.

If I did this, what about a flip-up counter section, so that the other 9 months of the year when it would see infrequent use, we'd have extra counter space? Is one burner enough if the stove is right there to prep the food? Would butcher block be too heavy?

Has anyone done/seen anything similar that I could show the DH?

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Ranges used to be slightly recessed on the top if you look at old slide in ranges and gas burners used to have a deeper well or sump that the burner was a bit lower with the grate on it. Now it all sits above counter height.

I would find a good compensation height. I think 24 is too low and may be a code issue in some areas, but I know people who have done 33" or even 30" for the cooktop (particularly in universal access, and it has worked out fine for larger pots.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 7:22PM
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I think it could work with this caveat: the exposed sides of the adjacent sections of cabs may need to be heat-resistant depending on how much space there is between them and the sides of the big pot.

Ex.: say you decide to have a 4' section of lowered counter with the big electric burner plunked in the middle of it. Assuming you have an very big canner (but not the largest restaurant pot you could possibly ever get) say 18" in diameter, then the potentially flammable exposed sides of the adjacent cabs (assuming there are any) would be 15" away from the canner, and probably safe.

But if you have narrower lowered section, say 27"-30", then you would start to have a problem unless you constructed the exposed sides with heat resistant materials, at least similar to a back splash and maybe even more protected since the barrier around the hot section would be more enclosed - in U-shape - in from one side across the back and out to the front again.

I hope this is clear, and helpful.

As far as a covering, I think you could cover it, but there might be safety issues if you didn't have a positive shutoff. Imagine someone visiting the kitchen that didn't realize that the switch they turned on was an eletric resistance coil under the counter!

Do you know that it is possible to buy Amish-made canning vessels (water baths) with spigots near the bottom for emptying? I have thought of purchasing one as it would make emptying it out so much easier. You could get one of those wall-mounted pot fillers to use at the start, and a water bath with a spigot for the end of the day. (I would be figuring out how to hook up a hose from that to my prep sink, I think.)

The other possibility to think of is having a stove with enough top-room so you could keep more than one w/b in progress at once. As a pratical matter I find that since I work alone for most things I usually have a pretty good match between the number of jars I can fill and the processing times for a load. When I use a pressure canner, that falls by the wayside, of course, since those times are very long. However I sometimes use my largest pressure canner as w/b for very large, stacked loads for some loads, especially cold-packed items where I can do a lot (18-30 units depending on jar size) at once. Such large loads, or straight pressure packs take attention once you start so I tend to not be prepping the next load while I'm processing the first.

The best thing to have is a trusted adult companion while canning. That would beat the benefit of almost any improvement in the physical set-up in my opinion. Canning for fun by yourself may be a blast, but canning for serious family-sized food preservation is a lot of work. Hard, but satisfying.

There are some people here with significantly canning-oriented kitchens - do some more searching and you will find threads and discussions - some with drool-worthy pics!



    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 11:44PM
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