A canning stove is typically designed specifically for the purposes of canning, though it can often also fulfill other functions. This type of stove is usually constructed outdoors and is meant to allow someone to can different types of foods without heating up a house, and is often used in hot weather. Canning requires sufficient heat for water to boil, which means that such a stove is usually designed to focus heat in a particular location so that a large pot can come to a boil. A canning stove can also refer to a pot that is used in canning, typically one that is designed to be placed inside an oven during canning.
The basic purpose and function of a canning stove is to facilitate the process of preserving fresh food through canning, often using jars with lids. During this process, the jars that are used in canning and that have been filled with food are lidded and placed into a large pot. These jars are then covered with water that is brought to a boil in order for the food within the jars to be properly sealed and preserved. A canning stove is designed to ensure this proper temperature is reached so that the water boils and the preserved food is kept safe.
Though different methods can be used to create a canning stove, they are often built outdoors and can run off of propane or designed as wood burning ovens and stoves. This allows such stoves to be used for canning even during hot weather without heating up the inside of a house. A canning stove can have one or more burners, though only one is quite common as this allows the heat to be focused for easier boiling of water in a canning pot. When such a stove is designed with an internal oven, it can also be used for cooking and baking fresh food for meals.
A canning stove can also refer to a large pot that is used for canning, which is designed to be placed inside of an oven rather than on a stovetop. This type of pot can be used much like any other canning pot, except it can fit into an oven and withstand surround heating. Such a canning stove was primarily used in the past, when ovens were more common and stovetop heating units were not always practical. As more modern canning pots have become prevalent, however, such stoves are not often necessary.