Traditional beef stew with potatoes, carrots, celery and more. Preserved in your pressure canner for when you want a homemade meal fast.

Learning how to can beef stew at home is simple and a great way to have ready-to-eat meals on your shelf for quick lunches or dinners. You can also use venison, lamb, pork, or other game meat in this recipe.

Canning beef stew is a simple process and can be done with minimal hands-on time. Many people are terrified of pressure canners, but I’ll walk you through the step-by-step process to show you just how simple and easy it truly is.

Making sure you’re aware of the top canning mistakes to avoid, and knowing some basic canning 101 will go a long way in giving you the peace of mind that you’re canning the right (and safe!) way. (Plus, here are our tips if you can’t find canning supplies right now!)

Having easy, convenience meals, on the pantry shelf, means we don’t have to run out and grab take-out on a busy weeknight when mom can’t cook.

If you like this tutorial, you may want to check out Carolyn’s full canning course, The Abundant Pantry: Canning. It includes over 50+ video lessons on canning (both water and pressure!).

Or, if you’re not quite ready for the full course, check out her FREE 4-part Meals on Your Shelf series.

Ingredients for Canning Beef Stew

The canning books all have very similar beef stew recipes, and for the most part they only vary slightly. Some include tomatoes, some don’t. Others include celery instead.

I’m using the “Beef Stew with Vegetables” recipe from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. The only change I made for my family is omitting the celery, as we just don’t like celery.

It’s perfectly fine to omit a vegetable, so long as you don’t add others to make up the difference. Just include a bit more broth in the jars, and still divide all the ingredients across the same number of jars.

The recipe includes:

  • 4 to 5 lbs stewing beef, cut into 1 to 1 1/2 inch cubes
  • Olive oil to brown meat
  • 12 cups potatoes, peeled and cut into 1” chunks, or about 5 pounds potatoes as purchased, about 4 pounds when peeled, trimmed & prepared
  • 8 cups carrots, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds, or 2 1/2 lbs prepared (peeled/chopped), from 3 lbs as purchased
  • 3 cups onions, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces, or 1 lb prepared from 1 1/4 lbs as purchased or 2 medium onions
  • 3 cups celery, chopped, from about 1 pound prepared or 1 small celery head
  • 12 cups beef stock, homemade or store-bought, plus more to fill if necessary
  • 4 1/2 tsp salt, optional, adjust to taste (not required for preservation, only flavor)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, optional, adjust to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, optional, adjust to taste

can you can beef stew

Can I Water Bath Can Stew?

No. Water bath canning simply does not get the food hot enough, long enough to safely cook the meat for storage. Because meat is a low acid food, it needs the high heat and pressure of a pressure cooker.

can you can beef stew

Add Water (or Broth)

Once your jars are filled and you’ve added salt (or not), pour boiling water into the jars, leaving about 1-inch headspace.

Alternatively, you could use boiling beef broth to fill the jars for an even richer beef stew recipe, but you’ll need to make sure your broth has been cooled and skimmed of any fat.

Fat in broth will create a sealing issue with your jars as it tends to coat the rims of the jars and prohibits a seal from forming.

Take your canning tool and run it along the four sides of the jar to allow any air bubbles to escape. Then top your jars back up with liquid until you have a 1-inch headspace.

Next, we need to clean the rims of the jars. Take a clean cloth and dip it into a small bowl of white vinegar. Then, wipe down each jar rim to ensure they’re completely clean with no little grains of salt, debris, or fat.

Center your lids onto each jar, then add the bands and screw them down to fingertip tight. This means we’re only tightening with our fingers, we’re not getting our whole hand or wrists involved.

can you can beef stew

Lift your jars and carefully place them on a rack inside your pressure canner. You want the water inside the pressure canner just below boiling.

Before you seal the lid on, make sure your jars and lids are NOT covered in water. If there is too much water in the pressure canner, you’ll need to remove some water before continuing.

Using a ladle is helpful for this.

can you can beef stew

Traditional beef stew with potatoes, carrots, celery and more. Preserved in your pressure canner for when you want a homemade meal fast.

FAQ

Can you can already cooked beef stew?

Stews containing meats have very special canning requirements and those with thickeners such as flour cannot be safely canned.

Is stew meat good for canning?

Canning beef stew is a great way to put up nutritious meals in a jar right on your pantry shelf. Quick and easy weeknight meals are all about planning ahead.

How long does pressure canned beef stew last?

As long as the can is in good shape, the contents should be safe to eat, although the taste, texture and nutritional value of the food can diminish over time. Home canned foods should be used within 1 year.

How to can beef stew without a pressure cooker?

Boiling water bath canning is easy: put hot food into hot jars, lower into boiling water (or hot water that you quickly bring back to a boil), allow to boil for the amount of time specified in the recipe, remove from water, let rest for 24 hours, make sure the lids are firmly in place and sealed, and you’re done!

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