Are you interested in canning your own beef stew but don’t have a pressure cooker?
Don’t worry, you can still do it!
In this article, we’ll show you how to safely and easily can beef stew using the hot pack method and a regular stock pot.
Plus, we’ll share some tips for ensuring your stew doesn’t turn mushy during the canning process.
So, grab your mason jars and let’s get started!
How To Can Beef Stew Without A Pressure Cooker?
Step 1: Prepare Your Stew
First, prepare your beef stew as you normally would. However, for canning purposes, you’ll want to use the hot pack method. This means lightly browning the meat and bringing the stew to a boil before filling your jars.
Step 2: Fill Your Jars
Using a canning wand or wooden skewer, slide it down all four sides of each jar to allow any bubbles to escape. Check headspace and add additional water or broth, if needed, to bring it back up to 1-inch headspace. Wipe the rim of each jar well with a clean cloth dipped in white vinegar to remove any debris.
Step 3: Water Bath Canning
Fill a large stock pot with enough water to cover your jars by at least 2 inches. Place your filled jars into the pot and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, let the jars process for 90 minutes for quart jars and 75 minutes for pint jars.
Step 4: Remove Jars and Cool
After processing, carefully remove the jars from the stock pot and place them on a towel-lined counter. Do not place boiling hot jars directly on the counter as they might crack from temperature variance. Let the jars cool completely before checking for proper seal, labeling, and storing in your pantry.
Gather Your Supplies
Before you begin canning beef stew without a pressure cooker, make sure you have all the necessary supplies. You will need quart or pint jars with lids and bands, a large stock pot or canning pot, a canning wand or wooden skewer, a clean cloth dipped in white vinegar, and a jar lifter. It’s important to use new lids and bands for each canning session to ensure a proper seal. Additionally, make sure your stock pot or canning pot is large enough to hold your jars with at least 2 inches of water covering them. Finally, have a towel-lined counter space ready for the processed jars to cool on. With these supplies on hand, you’ll be ready to start canning delicious beef stew without a pressure cooker.
Prepare Your Beef Stew
Before canning your beef stew, you’ll need to prepare it properly. Start by combining flour and pepper in a bowl, then add the beef and toss to coat well. Heat oil in a large pot and add the beef a few pieces at a time, making sure not to overcrowd the pot. Cook the beef, turning the pieces until browned on all sides, which should take about 5 minutes per batch. Add more oil as needed between batches.
Once the beef is browned, remove it from the pot and add vinegar and wine. Cook over medium-high heat, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the beef back into the pot along with beef broth and bay leaves. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer. Cover and cook, skimming broth from time to time, until the beef is tender, which should take about 1 1/2 hours.
Next, add onions and carrots and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add potatoes and simmer until vegetables are tender, which should take about 30 minutes more. If your stew is dry, add broth or water as needed. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
If you’re using a crockpot instead of a pot on the stove, cook on low for 9-10 hours, medium for 7-8 hours, or high for 6-7 hours. Once your stew is prepared, you can move on to filling your jars and canning them using the hot pack method.
Sterilize Your Jars And Lids
Before filling your jars with beef stew, it is essential to sterilize them and their lids to prevent any bacteria or germs from contaminating your food. Here’s how to do it:
Step 1: Wash Your Jars
Wash your jars thoroughly by hand or in the dishwasher. If using the dishwasher, make sure all residue is rinsed clean. Allow the jars to dry completely before sterilizing.
Step 2: Sterilize Your Jars
There are two ways to sterilize your jars: in the oven or in boiling water. To sterilize in the oven, arrange your jars on clean oven racks and turn the oven on to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Allow the jars to cook for at least 20 minutes before using them. Leave the jars in the oven until you are ready to fill them with stew.
To sterilize in boiling water, place your jars in a large pot of boiling water and let them boil for at least 10 minutes. Remove them from the water with tongs and let them dry on a clean towel.
Step 3: Sterilize Your Lids
Boil your lids for at least 10 minutes before using them. Do not boil your rings as they only need to be clean, not sterile.
Step 4: Fill Your Jars
Once your jars and lids are sterilized, fill them with hot beef stew as directed above. Use a canning wand or wooden skewer to remove any air bubbles and wipe the rims of each jar with a clean cloth dipped in white vinegar.
Step 5: Water Bath Canning
Follow the instructions above for water bath canning your beef stew-filled jars.
By properly sterilizing your jars and lids, you can ensure that your canned beef stew will be safe and delicious for months to come.
Pack Your Jars With Stew
When packing your jars with stew, use a slotted spoon to distribute the solids equally across the jars. Be sure to maintain 1-inch headspace above the broth and solids. Load the jars with the stew, then top with boiling stock. You should have some extra stock, but minimal extra diced veggies/meat (if any at all).
It’s important to note that while there are many “raw pack” recipes on the internet, it’s not recommended for canning beef stew. It may be easier to just layer the raw vegetables in jars, but the quality suffers. If you do choose to raw pack everything, at the very least, it’s suggested to brown the beef before packing. Unbrowned meat just doesn’t taste quite right in beef stew.
Using a water bath canner is a safe alternative to a pressure canner for canning beef stew. The high heat of the boiling water will kill bacteria that can cause botulism. By following these simple steps, you can enjoy delicious homemade beef stew all year round without needing a pressure canner.
Process Your Jars In A Boiling Water Bath
If you don’t have a pressure canner, you can still safely can beef stew by using a boiling water bath method. This method is suitable for high-acid foods and is a great alternative for those who don’t have a pressure canner.
To start, prepare your beef stew using the hot pack method. This involves lightly browning the meat and bringing the stew to a boil before filling your jars. Once your jars are filled with stew, use a canning wand or wooden skewer to slide down all four sides of each jar to allow any bubbles to escape. Check headspace and add additional water or broth if needed to bring it back up to 1-inch headspace. Wipe the rim of each jar well with a clean cloth dipped in white vinegar to remove any debris.
Next, fill a large stock pot with enough water to cover your jars by at least 2 inches. Place your filled jars into the pot and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, let the jars process for 90 minutes for quart jars and 75 minutes for pint jars.
After processing, carefully remove the jars from the stock pot and place them on a towel-lined counter. Let the jars cool completely before checking for proper seal, labeling, and storing in your pantry.
Remember that this method is only suitable for high-acid foods like jams, jellies, and pickles. If you’re canning low-acid foods like vegetables or meats, you’ll need to use a pressure canner to ensure they reach the necessary temperature and pressure to be safely canned.
Check Your Seals And Store Your Stew
After your jars have cooled, it’s important to check the seals before storing your beef stew. To check the seal, press down on the center of the lid. If it pops up and down, it did not seal properly and should be refrigerated and consumed within a few days. If the lid is firm and does not move, the seal is secure.
Once you have confirmed that your jars are properly sealed, label them with the date and contents before storing them in a cool, dry place like a pantry. Properly canned beef stew can last up to a year or more, but it’s important to check for any signs of spoilage before consuming.
By following these steps, you can safely can your beef stew without a pressure cooker and enjoy it for months to come. Remember to always follow proper canning techniques and food safety guidelines to ensure the best quality and flavor of your homemade meals.