Beef stew


This is a very basic beef stew that should please most people’s tastes.

It’s found in both the Ball Blue book and in the Ball / Bernardin Complete book.

It’s quick to assemble for canning.

Ball does give some options for jazzing it up a bit; see “Recipe options” below.

The recipe

Jar size choices: Half-litre (US pint / 16 oz) OR litre (US quart / 32 oz)

Processing method: Pressure canning only

Yield: 14 x half-litre (pint) OR 7 x litre (quart) jars

Headspace: 3 cm (1 inch)

Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet.)

Processing time:  Half-litres (pints) 75 minutes; litres (quarts) 90 minutes

If you don’t have a pressure canner, you can freeze this in plastic containers or straight-sided jars with no shoulders. (Water-bath canning is not acceptable for safety reasons.)


Beef stew

Prep time: 

Cook time: 

Total time: 

Yield: 7 x litre (quart) jars

Serving size: 2 cups / 500 ml

Calories: 406

Fat: 8.2 g

  • 2 kg of diced potato (3 quarts / 4.5 lbs. Measurements after prep. About 18 medium. )
  • 1 kg sliced carrots (2 quarts / 2 lbs. Measurements after prep. About 15 small.)
  • 400 g of chopped celery (3 cups / 14 oz. Measurements after prep. About 6 stalks.)
  • 450 g chopped onion (3 cups / 1 lb. Measurements after prep. 4 to 5 medium. )
  • 2 kg stewing beef (4 to 5 lbs)
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1½ teaspoons of salt OR salt sub
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Boiling water
  1. Wash and peel the potatoes. Wash again, then dice. Put in a large pot.
  2. Wash, peel, wash again, then slice the carrots. Add to the large pot.
  3. Wash the celery, slice. Add to the large pot.
  4. Wash, peel, chop the onions coarsely. Add to the large pot.
  5. Cut the beef into 4 cm (1½ inch) cubes. Set aside.
  6. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan. Add the stewing beef in batches, brown it, add to the large pot.
  7. Add all remaining ingredients to the pot.
  8. Add just enough boiling water from a kettle to cover (we used around 2 litres / 2 quarts / 8 cups).
  9. Bring to a boil.
  10. Jar size choices: half-litre (1 US pint) or 1 litre (US quart)
  11. Ladle mixture evenly into hot jars. Should you need more liquid, use boiling water from a kettle.
  12. Leave 3 cm (1 inch) headspace.
  13. Debubble; adjust headspace.
  14. Wipe jar rims.
  15. Put lids on.
  16. Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet)
  17. Processing time: half- litre (1 US pint) 75 minutes; 1 litre (US quart) 90 minutes.


Reference information

How to pressure can.

When pressure canning, you must adjust the pressure for your altitude.

For salt substitute, Herbamare Sodium-Free was used.


Recipe options

The Ball Blue Book says, “Customize our recipe to make it your very own. Here’s how you do it: combine potatoes and turnips to equal 3 quarts cubed root vegetables, reduce the measure of onion to 2 cups, then add 1 cup peas, green beans, or corn. Sprinkle in additional dried herbs and spices to your liking. To finish it off, add a splash of hot sauce or maybe wine.”


Recipe notes

  • The beef can be a tougher cut such as round, chuck, etc.
  • Be prepared for the recipe to possibly make a few extra jars;
  • You can always thicken it if you wish upon serving. Stir in 1 tablespoon of cornstarch (aka cornflour in the UK) or flour per half-litre (pint). Zap in microwave for 1 minute, stir, and zap an additional 2 to 3 minutes depending on the power of your microwave and the quantity you are preparing.





Ball Blue Book. Muncie, Indiana: Healthmark LLC / Jarden Home Brands. Edition 37. 2014. Page 104.

Kingry, Judi and Lauren Devine. Ball / Bernardin Complete Book of Home Preserving. Toronto: Robert Rose. 2015. Page 407.

Modifications: none

SALT: The Blue Book calls for 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt. The Complete calls for 4 1/2 teaspoons of salt.  Online, Ball calls for 1 1/2 TABLESPOONS of salt (as of December 2016.) We used 1 1/2 teaspoons, as more can easily be added to taste at the table.


Cooking with canning

Herb-Crusted Beef Pot Pie



Serving size: 2 cup (500 ml)

Regular version

Per 2 cup (500 ml): 406 calories, 419 mg sodium



No-added salt version

Per 2 cup (500 ml): 406 calories, 171 mg sodium



* Nutrition info provided by



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