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Canned Beef Stew

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What do you do on days when you’re craving a delicious and satisfying lunch or dinner dish but don’t have time to cook? There’s nothing better than homemade Canned Beef Stew!

Image shows a collection of large mason jars full of beef stew, lined up in rows. Text overlay reads "How to can beef stew"

Canning a stew chock full of savory meat and tender veggies in jars is so easy and convenient. You’ll never go back to buying them off the shelves! 

Ready-to-eat canned goods are present in pretty much everyone’s pantry. It doesn’t matter if you are a homestead mom, a hectic professional, or a student living in dorms- you always have that go-to, just-pop-the-lid-open can or jar of food that you open for emergencies, or when you are too tired or lazy to work in the kitchen. But let’s be honest; commercial canned processed foods are not the healthiest. We all want to feed our kids the best.

That is why knowing how to make home-canned dishes is an important life skill that everyone should know. You can enjoy the convenience of ready-made food without preservatives or additives and make them exactly how you want them! Plus, you can have peace of mind knowing that you and your family can eat healthy food any time, even without depending on electricity. 

You might start by making your own Canned Chicken or learning how to properly can pork, But it doesn’t really take any added expertise to start making a multi-ingredient canning recipe. One of my favorites is home-canned vegetable soup. But I’ll be honest, my husband and kids really like this more simplified version of beef stew. 

 So now I’m sharing this simple pressure canning recipe using beef and vegetables in a few easy steps.

The first time I made this recipe, it was in an effort to use some cuts from an old beef that we had processed. If you’re familiar with processing your own beef, you know that the older the animal is, the tougher the meat tends to be. I thought if I diced the meat small enough, and canned it, maybe it would be tender enough to be palatable. 

It did help, I’ll give it that! But it definitely still wasn’t the most tender thing ever. One hint on that front: adding some tomato juice to your stew can really help break down the proteins!

Processing your own meat is a great incentive for canning, but let’s not forget that finding a great sale on beef that you want to preserve is 100% valid. Canning is for everyone!

Are you ready to make the best canned beef stew recipe ever?

Image shows a large bowl of beef stew sitting on a white table with a spoon in it. Behind the bowl is a second bowl, and several mason jars full of more beef stew.

Why Make Canned Beef Stew?

I’ve already mentioned a few reasons above, but here are a few more reasons for you to start canning your meat! 

  • You only need 7 ingredients to make this canned meal recipe. All you have to do is pack them into the jars and let your pressure canner do the rest! You will be doing a few minutes of hands-on work at most, especially if you use your food processor to slice the veggies. 
  • It is a protein-packed, veggie-loaded instant meal that you can eat with rice, mashed potatoes, or on subs. You know exactly what goes into the jars. No junk and unnecessary ingredients- just whole foods that your body will thank you for!
  • This is the perfect way to use up leftover vegetables in your refrigerator. You can use other veggies that you have on hand too. 
  • Store them on your shelves to get you through rough winter days or when it is too hot in the kitchen during summer. These are also ideal to bring on outdoor camping or as part of your monthly meal prep. 
  • You save more money when buying meat and veggies in bulk. Canning is a great way to save on your freezer space and prolong shelf life. Not to mention, when your freezer inevitably goes on the fritz (ours just did a few weeks ago!), you don’t have to worry about your food spoiling.

Ingredients You’ll Need and Possible Alternatives

  • Stew beef– you can use chuck, brisket, or shanks sliced into bite-sized pieces, about one-and-a-half inches. Make sure they are not cut too big, or you will find it hard to take them out later on.  Smaller cuts also mean they will turn out well-seasoned and tender. 
  • Vegetables. I used potatoes, carrots, and onions to make my canned beef stew. Other vegetables that you can use are celery, mushrooms, sweet potatoes, green beans, peas, parsnips, and corn. 
  • Sea salt and ground pepper– to taste. I used simple seasoning to let the natural flavors shine through. This is important, especially if you are using seasoned broth. You do not want it to become overwhelmingly salty or savory. You can also add spices and herbs if you prefer. However, I recommend just seasoning them when you open the jars instead. 
  • Liquid– you can use water or beef broth to make this. If you want to give your canned beef stew a more umami flavor, a combination of broth and tomato juice will also work. 

home canned beef stew being served in a bowl

Tips for Canning Beef Stew with Vegetables

  1. Always start with clean tools! Wash your jars, including the rings and lids, with warm soapy water and let them air dry before using. 
  2. If this is your first time making homemade canned food using a pressure canner, learn everything you need to know to use it like a pro! Don’t worry it is easier than you think and when used right. It is a very safe, useful kitchen equipment that is worth your investment. 
  3. Dice your meat and vegetables into equal-sized pieces. Not only will it be easier for you to arrange them into the jars, but this also ensures that you will have evenly cooked portions. 
  4. Do not pack the meat and veggies too tightly into the jars. This will prevent the broth from seeping into the meat and will result in a less flavorful and dry stew. Just add them into the jar and fill ¾ of the way without pushing the contents down. 
  5. Leave enough headspace per jar to make sure that they will seal properly. For this recipe, leave a 1/2-inch headspace for the best result.
  6. Wipe the rims of the jar with a clean cloth before sealing them. This clears any debris like salt or pepper grains that might keep your jar from sealing. 
  7. The processing time will depend on the size of the jars you are using. 85 minutes if you are using quartz jars and 55 minutes for pint jars. (according to the Ball blue book canning standards.)

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Is it safe to raw pack beef stew? Absolutely! Though you will see some recipes saying that you have to cook the meat first, it is not necessary unless you prefer to do so. Raw packing meat is safe because the meat will cook fully inside the pressure canner.  It’s also much faster.
  2. Can I pre-cook the beef before adding it to the canning jars? Sure, you can. You can cook them briefly in a skillet until they have browned and let them cool down a bit before adding them to the jars. 
  3. Can I use the water-bath canning method to make canned beef stew? I do not recommend this because water baths do not reach a high enough temperature to make the meat safe for long storage. 
  4. How long can I store canned beef stew? Keep jars in a cool place out of direct sunlight, and they should last for years unopened. Once you open a can, it is best to consume it immediately or keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days only.
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Canned Beef Stew

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Savory, delicious beef stew, with potatoes an carrots, including full canning instructions.

  • Author: Elise

Ingredients

Scale
  • 5 lbs beef roast or stew meat, cut into 1 inch cubes (or smaller)
  • 12 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 8 cups carrots, sliced/diced
  • 3 cups onions, diced
  • 7 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • water or beef stock (note: can also use a combination of broth and tomato juice)

Equipment needed: 

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl or stock pot, mix ingredients, except for broth, together thoroughly

  2. Pack loosely into quart or pint jars, leaving 3/4 inch of head space

  3. Fill with water or beef broth, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace, being sure to remove air bubbles if needed using a butterknife to reach and release air pockets

  4. Wipe the rim and fit with flats and lids, screw the band down firmly

  5. Prepare pressure canner according to the manufacturer’s instructions

  6. Arrange jars in the canner so that they aren’t touching

  7. Lock the canner lid and heat over medium-high heat until steam begins to escape

  8. Vent steam for 10 minutes, then close the vent/add your weighted gauge

  9. Continue heating to 10 lbs of pressure. For many canners, that’s when the weight begins to rock or jiggle. Some dial-gauge canners require you to keep an eye on them

  10. Process quart jars for 85 minutes and pint jars for 55 minutes (according to Ball canning standards)

  11. Turn off the heat and let pressure return to zero naturally before opening the vent and removing the jars. If you need to remove the jars while they’re still hot, place a towel on your countertop, carefully remove jars and place them on the towel, then cover with another towel to protect jars from drafts that could cause the glass to break. Let the jars remain undisturbed on the counter until completely cool

  12. After 24 hours, you can remove rings from sealed jars, and water jars

  13. Store in a cool place out of direct sunlight

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2 Comments

  1. I’m totally on board with this! You’re right, those canned goods are always convenient, but knowing how to make your own canned food opens up a whole world of healthier and tastier options. Home-canned beef stew sounds like the perfect solution for busy folks like me – a hearty, healthy meal ready in a flash, without the guilt of processed ingredients.

  2. I usually braise my beef for a couple of hours in red wine and beef broth with onions and garlic to tenderize the meat before I make stew. Can I cook my beef like this and still can it?

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