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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. Sometimes that means meal planning and prep earlier in the week, but it can also mean canning meals in jars for a nutritious homemade meal within easy reach in the pantry.
Reading: Ball canning beef stew recipe
This past year ordered a side of beef from a local farm and we didn’t have quite enough freezer space to store both the beef and our home garden produce. It was actually a blessing in disguise, and I discovered how easy canning beef really is.
Once I had those ingredients on the shelf, I started looking into soup canning recipes because while home-canned ingredients are wonderful and versatile, home-canned meals are even better.
Home-canned beef stew was the obvious first choice, and it’s absolutely delicious!
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
Canning Beef Stew
Altitude Adjustments for Canning Beef Stew
While the canning time remains constant in pressure canning, the pressure used varies slightly based on altitude.
At sea level, you use 11 pounds pressure in a dial gauge pressure canner (like presto pressure canners) and 10 pounds in a weighted gauge (like All American Brand). Beyond that, the altitude adjustments for each type of canner are below.
Dial Gauge Canners:
- 0 to 2,000 feet in elevation use 11 pounds pressure
- 2,001 to 4,000 feet in elevation use 12 pounds pressure
- 4,001 to 6,000 feet in elevation use 13 pounds pressure
- 6,001 to 8,000 feet in elevation use 14 pounds pressure
Weighted Gauge Canners:
- 0 to 1,000 Feet in elevation use 10 pounds pressure
- Above 1,000 Feet in elevation use 15 pounds pressure
Variations in Beef Stew Canning Recipes
The same basic recipe for canning beef stew can be found in a number of different pressure canning books. It’s the same amount of beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions almost every time.
What changes is the seasonings, and occasionally other vegetables are added like celery or tomatoes. Sometimes the potatoes are reduced to make a bit of space for the other vegetables, but that’s it.
This beef stew canning recipe is a classic, and it comes from The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving. Everyone’s tastes are a little bit different, so I’ll take you through some other tested recipe variations.
The Homestead Canning Cookbook uses the exact same recipe but opts for 1/2 tsp of summer savory in place of thyme.
Diane Devereaux’s Pressure Canning Book has reduces the chopped potatoes to 10 cups, and the celery to 2 cups. She then adds in 3 cups of chopped Roma tomatoes. She adds considerably more seasoning, including:
- 1 Tbsp dried parsley
- 1 Tbsp dried oregano
- 1/2 Tbsp celery seeds
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 4 1/2 tsp salt
Personally, I think her recipe takes things too much into an Italian flavor direction, with tomatoes, oregano, basil, and parsley. If that sounds good to you, go for it!
The yield is still 7 quarts, and the canning times/pressures are the same.
Angi Schneider’s Pressure Canning Book has by far the most creative beef stew canning recipe I’ve found yet, and most of the recipes in her book are really unique and delicious.
She goes with a variation that uses sweet potatoes and mushrooms. Her recipe is a bit smaller and makes 4 one-quart jars.
- 3 lbs stew beef
- 2 tbsp olive oil (for browning meat)
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 6 cups beef stock
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cups peeled and diced sweet potato
- 1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 4 bay leaves
Instructions and canning times are the same as the generic beef stew canning recipe. The yield as I mentioned is only 4 quarts, but you can double the recipe to fill your canner with 7 quarts (and then have a bit leftover for lunch).
Beyond these specifically tested beef stew canning recipes, there are a few changes you can safely make to pressure canning recipes in general.
Feel free to adjust the seasonings slightly as it suits your taste, so long as you use only modest amounts of dry seasonings. You can also add 1/4 to 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce for flavor without affecting canning safety (in that case, reduce the salt by 1-2 teaspoons).
Personally, I don’t like celery, so I skip it and I prefer beef stew without tomatoes. Keep in mind that you can omit ingredients, or reduce the quantity, but don’t increase ingredients or substitute other vegetables instead.
That means you can skip the celery, but you can’t add in extra onions to make up the difference.
Serving Home Canned Beef Stew
Since flour and other thickeners are not approved for canning, this beef stew is a bit on the thin side right out of the jar. If you like a thickened beef stew, you might want to strain out the broth and thicken it, as I do.
I like to make a roux with a bit of butter and flour, then add the stock in to thicken it into a rich gravy-like stew, to me that tastes better than cornstarch and it works better than just flour alone.
You can also just heat and serve as is, if that’s your preference. (Or in a pinch, eat it right out of the jar cold if you’re traveling or out on a job site for your meal.)
Beef Canning Recipes
Looking for more ways to can beef at home?
- Canning Beef (Chunks, Steak, Roasts, Ground or Hamburgers)
- Canning Sloppy Joes
- Chili Con Carne
- Beef Burgundy
- Beef Pot Roast in a Jar
- Beef Stroganoff
- Beef Tips and Gravy
Soup Canning Recipes
Beef stew may be popular, but it’s not the only soup canning recipe out there!
- Garden Vegetable Soup
- Canning Mushroom Soup Base
- Potato Leek Soup
- Sausage, Potato, and Kale Soup
- Sausage and Bean Soup
- Classic Chicken Soup
Pressure Canning Recipes
Stock your pantry with these pressure canning recipes:
- Canning Potatoes
- Canning Carrots
- Canning Corn
- Canning Sweet Potatoes