Cheap and easy, pressure canning beef stew is a must for your pantry. This beef stew recipe was the second recipe I ever made in a pressure canner. (The first was chicken stock.) It’s simple, delicious, and pure comfort food. Plus, this may be one of the easiest beef stew recipes ever. There is no pre-cooking, and the meat is so tender, you’ll want to serve it every week.
Putting up food is an investment. Buying in bulk and stocking up allows you to eat tomorrow on today’s prices. I nearly had sticker shock when I saw the price of green beans at our local wholesale club. They were selling for $5 for 2 pounds- and that’s at wholesale. I don’t even want to know what retail would have been.
At the time of this posting, the current price of stew meat in stores this week ranges from $3.99 to $6.49. It was only a few years ago that ribeyes were that price. If you grow your own potatoes, carrots, and onions, there are no other costs for ingredients beyond salt and pepper or any of the optional ingredients.
For several reasons, we no longer buy meat at the grocery store. We buy a cow from a local farm for the freezer. It was $3.25/lb for a grassfed at “hanging weight”. This means that all the cuts of meat, whether stew meat or filet mignon is the same price. You also get the marrow bones for beef stock, as well as organ meats. The butcher normally retains the hide.
Pressure Canning Beef Stew: Raw Pack
- 5 pounds beef stew meat, fat trimmed off
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
- 1 pound of celery, chopped
- 1 pound of onion, chopped
- Boiling water to fill jars
- Optional- a teaspoon of tomato paste per jar
- Optional- a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce per jar
- Optional- homemade powdered beef bouillon, 1 teaspoon
Layer each of the ingredients into clean canning jars. While sterilizing the jars isn’t necessary with pressure canning, I still do so in the oven. I use wide mouth jars, because they are much easier to get food in and out. I generally don’t bother with adding any of the optional ingredients except tomato paste, but it is really up to your personal tastes.
Trim away any visible fat on the stew meat. If I were making beef stew on the stove top to eat that night, I’d leave the fat on the meat. In the pressure canner, however, that fat might interfere with getting a good seal.
Everything goes into the jars raw, layer by layer. At the top, add a couple of pinches of salt and grind a little black pepper. Then pour the boiling water into the jars. Use a flat utensil from my canning accessories kit to run down the sides of the jars to release any air bubbles. Fill the jars with enough water to leave an inch of head space. Using a wide mouth funnel makes filling the jars so much easier. I don’t know how I ever lived without one. Remember to wipe the rims down with vinegar before putting the lids on.
Follow your canner’s instructions for set up and choose the pounds of pressure appropriate for your altitude. In my case, I pressure canned these 7 quarts of beef stew at 11 pounds (dial gauge) or 10 pounds (weighted gauge) of pressure for 90 minutes.
A Year’s Worth of Beef Stew
With our last cow, we ended up with about 20lbs+ of stew meat, plus a few cuts that we probably should have had processed into stew meat. We will have to cut that up ourselves, but this will yield another 20 pounds of stew meat.
I have an All-American pressure canner which holds 7 quart jars (or 14 pint jars), which is a very popular size pressure canner. I will have to write a review of it someday, because I love this canner over all others brands. If I want to serve one quart jar each week for a year, I will need 52 jars made in 8 batches of 7 jars, which would leave me 4 extra jars remaining. This is ideal to serve beef stew as a lunch portion or as a soup course before dinner. Alternatively, I could include beef stew once every two weeks as a main course for dinner, using two quart jars.
- 40lbs of stew meat
- 16 pounds of potatoes
- 16 pounds of carrots
- 8 pounds of celery
- 8 pounds of onion
- Any optional ingredients, multiplied by 8
This assumes, of course, that all jars seal. If not, either start over and process again with a new lid or a Tattler reusable lid, or put the jar in the refrigerator to use up within the week. If you have two canners, you could can up a year’s worth of beef stew in a weekend. Or, you could run your canner twice a day for four days. You do need to stay nearby your canner, but you can be doing other things, like running some apples, bananas, or pears through your dehydrator (guess what I’m doing next).
Do you have a favorite canning recipe? Please leave a comment below.