Cooking Classes


Pressure Canning your Stews

I made this chunky chili yesterday in my new crockpot.  I cooked it for about 5 hours and it was very tasty.  But rather than eat it right away, I thought this might be a good chance to practice with my (also new) pressure canner.

If I had thought about preserving this stew in advance, I probably would not have fully cooked it before processing.  But since this was a brisket, the meat was still very firm.  So I thought I would give it a try.

I also had a liter of chicken broth in the fridge.  I also preserved it with the pressure canner.  The chicken broth would not take as long to process but I didn't want to go through this twice.  It is recommended that meat stews be processed for 90 minutes.  Chicken stock only requires about half that time.

I like the idea of preserving food for use later.  I can remember as a child, my mother would can chickens using the water bath method.  I loved the flavour of the canned chickens but there isn't a chance I would do that without using a pressure canner.  The risk for botulism is too high.

I have been canning with the water bath method for years - tomatoes (with lemon juice added), fruits, jams and jellies.  Having a pressure canner broadens the range of items that I can put away.  

I left about a 1-inch headspace and both jars lost a bit of liquid.  I was way more intent on being sure I didn't have an explosion or have the pot run dry so wasn't focussing much on the end product - not that I could do much about it anyway!

Have any of you done any pressure canning?  I would love to hear about the types of things that you have considered successful using this method.


  1. I did some pressure canning a couple of years ago, but I much prefer the ease of a simple water bath processing, which limits my choices.

  2. What canning I've done, has been replaced by my vacuum packer and frozen!

  3. Pam> this is all new for me. I just want to experiment with putting away soups, stews, etc for home made and not frozen.

    buffalodick> I can all my own tomato sauce and the usual stuff. I just find that my freezer isn't big enough! I think most people freeze these days.

  4. I've not used a pressure canner yet. I have an ancient one that I inherrited from my husbands grandma. I need to get it checked out to verify its safe for use before I try it :) Honestly I'm terrified of using the thing, simply because I have zero experience. I've only used a water bath for my dilly beans, and those freaked me out the first time too LOL.

    I didn't know you could pressure can chicken stock! how long will it last?

  5. Andrea> that pressure cooker would scare me, too! I have a brand new one and have used a pressure cooker a lot, but when it's on the stove for 90 minutes, it made me nervous! But, all was well!
    Everything should be de-fatted as much as possible. It is supposed to last as long as any canning. My mom's chickens used to last until we ate them! And that was hot water bath. They will go into my cold room and I'll keep a watch. I'll let you know!

  6. Do you think less of me because I'm scared of a pressure cooker? We're planting a bigger garden this year and I really want to get over this fear pluse I'd like to learn how to can meat. Any good resources, therapists, websites you could recommend to help me over my fear?

  7. Oh Mags, we can learn this together. I want to be doing meats, antipasto, broths, whatever is in season. I'll keep posting as I learn!

  8. Get a new copy of BALL canning--and you will have perfect results every time. The directions and methods have changed in the last 15 years.

    I grew up in a family that canned 350 + cans every summer; pressure cooker and water bath.

    I use a small pressure cooking and use 1 1/2 pint wide mouth jars. I have some 1 pint--perfect when you cook for 1 or 2 people. I have a big blue canner that does quarts, but it is just too much for a small family.

    Stew, vegetable soup mix, green beans, corn, tomatoes, pickles of all kinds, beets, and meat.

    I made freezer strawberry jam 2 weeks ago. 2 qt strawberries = five 8oz jars (used low sugar pectin). Keeps 1 year in freezer or 3 weeks in refrig. This is a good project to make with children and it sure builds confidence.

  9. This is so interesting except we never have leftover for canning :)

  10. Sarah, I've done some canning but never in a pressure cooker. I've been scared. Sounds silly, doesn't it. However, it sounds so easy I will ahve to buy one. Any recommendations?

  11. Marcia> I have the Bernardin book - the equivalent of Ball, in Canada. So no secrets? I always put up my own tomato sauce and love it. Have been doing it for years. Also, jams and jellies and some savouries. The vegetable soup mix sounds intersting - is it just a mixture of veggies to make into soup later?

    Hungry> I guess that is the advantage of living alone! I always have leftovers!

    Pam> Mine is a Mirro but I think Presto also makes pressure canners. I don't think there are a lot of choices out there. If you look on you will see the choices. Bought mine at a Canadian Tire store!

  12. That is a great idea! we do that in Europe with a lot of vegetables, fruits, jams1 Thanks for reminding me of that!

  13. I haven't canned since I made cases of applesauce in 1992. As the kids got bigger, I found there were never leftovers. Now I have to remember to scale back from my standard of "5 pounds of meat and 3 pounds of potatoes" per meal. But now I want to can and freeze...and we haven't even planted yet!

  14. Oh goodness, I'd be scared to death that I would poison myself... can you then just leave the stew out like canned food? I must look into this.

  15. citronetvanille> do you remember any favourite items?

    Marjie> yes, we are planning waaay ahead!

    Deana> that's the idea! Feels weird, doesn't it.

  16. une idée très intéressante, je n'en avais jamais essayé
    bonne journée

  17. I have never used a pressure canner yet.
    Have a great evening!

  18. I have canned pickles and made jams and jellies. I have not ventured further...I too have been fearful. In my genealogy research I learned that a great grandmother died of botulism.

    Our processes have changed so much over the years that I should get over it and venture forth!

  19. Kate> I'm sorry, I laughed out loud at your comment. Your poor grandmother! I don't blame you for being fearful!

    Mamatkamal, Fimère> well, I will share all I learn!

  20. I am seeking a "Presto 3 piece regulator weight 50332" or a {mirro #98505 regulator weight} for my pressure you know where I might order one in Saskatchewan? Thank you for any help you can give me..Laurie

  21. Laurie> check out If you don't see it in their catalogue, then just ask if they can find one for you. I have been more than happy with their service.


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