Friday, July 19, 2019

Canning Beef Stew

Last week I made beef stew for supper one evening.  I opened jars of potatoes, carrots, beef and tomatoes to make it.  Duane came over to help me eat it, took some home with him and I ate off the leftovers for a couple of days.  I had several canning jars that needed to be washed.  If I had a dishwasher, I wouldn't mind so much, but my dishwasher consists of my two hands located at the ends of my arms.  I am not fond of washing jars.

About that time I got to wondering if it would work to can all the stew ingredients together in one jar.  I already can all sorts of soups, so why not stew.  With that in mind I ordered 8 lbs. of chuck roast, 10 lbs. of potatoes, 4 lbs of carrots, 4 lbs of onions and 2 bunches of celery.  So then I got to thinking that if I was going to can beef stew, why not can chicken stew, too.  So I added 6 lbs. of frozen chicken breast and 2 lbs. of frozen corn to the order.

My groceries were delivered early afternoon Thursday.  I peeled the potatoes and onions and washed the carrots and celery.  Then I sat at my kitchen table and cut everything into bite sized pieces.  The potatoes went into a bucket of water to keep them from turning black overnight and the rest went into the fridge in zip lock bags.  The beef and chicken were cut into bite sized pieces and the meat went into the fridge in zip lock bags as well.

This morning I got my jars and pressure canner ready and proceeded to layer the ingredients into quart jars.  Each jar got a cup each of potatoes and carrots, and half a cup each of celery and onions.  I topped off each jar with beef cubes, adding 1/2 teaspoon each of garlic powder and thyme and 3 tablespoons of crushed tomatoes along with two beef bouillon cubes per jar, then filled them with water..  I processed the quart jars of stew for 90 minutes.  To use the stew it just needs to be heated and thickened.  It might need a bit more liquid, depending on how you like it.

While the first seven jars were processing and when I had filled the next seven jars was when I realized I had screwed up.  I had not ordered nearly enough carrots.  Stew just doesn't taste right without carrots. 

I thought about either freezing or dehydrating the rest of the vegetables, but both require blanching.  Did I mention that today was the hottest day of the year so far with the temperature this afternoon at 96 degrees and a heat index of 110 degrees?  There was no way I was going to heat water on the stove for blanching.  The pressure canner was generating enough heat, but my apartment was staying tolerable.  I wanted to keep it that way.

So I started filling jars.  In addition to the 14 quarts of beef stew, I got 10 pints of cubed potatoes, 2 pints of carrots and 9 half pints each of celery and onions.  Tomorrow promises to be cooler - back in the mid 70's - so I will fill half pint jars of the rest of the beef and the 6 lbs. of chicken.  I have lots of beef and chicken canned in pint jars, so I thought perhaps the half pints would be nice to have on hand for sandwiches.

Things don't always go according to plan.  In my case, they often go awry.  Being flexible and refusing to panic are a big plus, no matter what the situation.  None of the food was wasted and I will can more beef stew and chicken stew another (cooler) day, keeping better track of the amounts of ingredients I will need.

Keep on prepping, even if you have to change course in the middle.  :)


  1. I was hungry when I came here, so I ain't gonna read this. Maybe I'll head to the kitchen! - lol

    1. Gorges...Guess I had better stay away from food posts for a while. Seems like I am always making you hungry. :)

  2. It's important to be flexible and just go with things as they play out, imo.

    I'm finally seeing progress on my kitchen re-organization. I can see my kitchen counters again. There's still more to do. Slow and steady is the name of the game for me.
    Stay hydrated and take good care of yourself.

    1. You are right, SJ...I hadn't planned to can plain vegetables and meat, but there you go! Nothing went to waste and it all will eventually be used.

      Slow and steady works. Remember the tortoise and the hare. :)
      I admire your ambition. I'm kind of scared to tackle organizing my kitchen, but I suppose I will have to, sooner or later.

      Woke up this morning to 63 degrees and rain. The heat wave has moved on. Life is good!

  3. Be careful with potatoes. They are what make potato salad spoil in the heat, not mayo. Even in this heat, the stew sounds delicious. I could eat some right now.

    1. Linda...The potatoes are all canned up and survived the heat. The idea of stew in a jar came about because when I would open jars of meat and vegetables, I wound up with way more stew than one or even two people can eat up. And I dislike washing jars. :)

  4. Couldn't you add carrots while your heat up ypur stew?? We make stew every month when its cool out. The price of stew meat is nuts. Our market had steak on sale few months ago stocked up on that. I said to my wife just use the steak. That was the best stew she has made in our 30 yrs together.

    Now she will only use the steak meat. She cut to the size she wanted. I can't wait for fall...

    1. Rob... I could have just added carrots when heating up the stew, but I would rather have it as a one jar meal. I will can both beef and chicken stew come fall and this time buy more carrots. I used chuck roast for the beef because it was about the cheapest, but will use nearly any beef that I can get at a good price. All the leftover meat and veggies I canned up will get used eventually, so I'm not out anything. The steak stew sounds really good.