Sunday, December 11, 2011

Beef Stew

I'm thinking I need to find my real camera for in the house winter pictures.  Or wait til noon.  Or something.  There's just not enough light in my kitchen right now.

Ok, so I read the manufacturer's instruction book and recipes, cover to cover.  I scoured the net again.  I read blogs and forums and cooking sites.

Near as I can figure, you just need to know the processing time for the 'longest' ingredient.  Any recipe will do.

So my second canning adventure, 6 pints of beef stew.  Processed at 13lbs (I haven't got the heat/pressure ratio figured out on my stove yet, so I'm erring on the side of more pressure than less) for 1 hour 15 minutes (based completely arbitrarily on a few different recipes, no idea what the processing time for my longest ingredient actually was).

I made a big pot of stew for supper, planning to can the leftovers.  Mixed everything in the roasting pan, set the oven for 250°F.  About 2 hours in, I'm reading this forum, where another first timer was also asking questions about beef stew, and the experienced canners told him he was going to have jars of mush.  Oops.  Apparently you can stuff raw.  Who knew?  lol.

Ok, so I checked out my stew.  Potatoes were still hard, and the meat wasn't too far past the defrosting stage.  What the heck.  I jarred it and started canning.

The end result- there is some mush in the jars.  The green beans are looking pretty soggy.  But the potatoes, carrots and meat look pretty good.  So I think It'll be ok.  It has the same orange coloured oily slime around the edges at the top as you see in store bought (one of the reasons I never eat that stuff).  We'll see what Husband has to say when he actually eats it.

The one thing that concerns me, is when I opened the canner, after it depressurized, the smell of the stew was REALLY strong.  I've never smelled my canned goods through the jars before.  Is that normal?  They all have good seals and no smell now.

Turkey for supper tonight.  Turkey soup to can tomorrow!


  1. You're fine if all your jars sealed(take the rings off and lift by the lid - you'll know if the seal didn't take). During the end of the processing time some food can syphon off into the water. You're getting rid of the air in the jar and with that most times food/jucies as well. I can lots of albacore tuna and always fill the kitchen with that great tuna smell - NOT. Keep up the good work and you'll be a pro in 'know' time.

  2. No, you are not supposed to smell it through the jars. But, the smell can come from the driving of all the air from the jar to seal it. Something may have gone wrong. All the fat should be removed from the meat before canning. The fat, the slime, can get on the top of the jar and the jar won't seal. Remember, only one bite of spoiled food can kill a person.It could be meat or just a can of green beans that can kill. Why don't you put all this in the refrigerator and use it up? Check to see if all the jars sealed. The grease worries me.

    This site is the authority I would chose:

    Here is another that seems to be okay.

    I will get another site tomorrow. I see videos of people canning in their kitchen, breaking all the rules, and yet, they live.

  3. herdog- Thanks! Once the steam settled the smell dissipated. Seals are good, and everything appears to be fine.

    PP- Everything I've read says to remove excess fat. I did that before freezing. The orange coloured slime is just a ring around the edge. There's no tallow settling or hardening on the top of the stew. I'm not going to worry about it. Thanks for the sites.

    Whatever don't kill ya makes you stronger. ;)

  4. I know I'm a bit late here in commenting, but if you can find yourself a Ball Blue Book of Canning (they are NOT expensive) I think it will tell you everything you want to know. Many canners (is that even a word?) actually call it the Canning Bible. I swear by mine. It gives you all the times and how to calculate the pressure and pretty much everything you need to know about not "killing" you! I love your blog btw!

  5. SciFiChick- Awesome! Thank you. I just had it sent to my kindle for $3.99. The reviews say it's an awful rip off, reprinted version of the original, with old fashioned recipes. Perfect! lmao. Should be full of good stuff that I'll actually use.