For centuries, home canning has been a way of life for much of society. In the last 40 years, we have seen advancements in technology and enhanced safety practices. The beauty of such advancements many of us recipe creators have also safely advancement canning techniques. The Raw Stacking Method is one of them.

The Raw Stacking Canning Method

Raw Stacking is a term I created to describe raw packing ingredients by way of layering, or stacking, each individual ingredient into individual jars.  This technique uses the well-known raw packing method, however, we are intentionally layering, or stacking, a variety of pre-measured ingredients on top of one other to create the recipe. Once each ingredient is layered into every individual jar, we then cover the ingredients with water, broth or stock, then proceed with the rim wiping, screw band application and processing.

A common canning practice when making soups requires the recipe to be cooked prior in a large stock pot prior to filling jars. The reason we do this is to blend the flavors and pre-shrink the food’s fibers to expel its moisture. The difference when using the Raw Stacking Method, however, it to intentionally keep the ingredients intact and rely on the processing time to do the cooking. During processing the food’s moisture is then expelled into each jar while simultaneously cooking in and creating its own broth and absorbing said broth while maintaining liquidity. Essentially, each jar is its own individual stock pot, if you will. The reason we do this is to obtain a higher ratio of solids to liquids in every jar. Unlike cooking a pot of soup, raw sacking is a splendid way to create hearty stews and Meals in A Jar with less broth/liquid and more sustenance.

Here are some of the advantages to using the Raw Stacking Method when canning:

  1. Each jar retains the full impact of the food’s flavors and nutrients.
  2. The yield is retained in each jar giving the canner a hearty meal with less broth/liquid.
  3. Canners control their waste because each jar is filled individually rather than in a large stock pot.
  4. Save time in your prep work by not having to cook the recipe prior to filling jars.
  5. Unlike ladling and praying you get the right amount of solids in each jar, the canner now controls the level of solids to liquids.

Many canners have created meals in a jar using the raw stacking technique such as Beef Stew, Irish Bean & Cabbage Stew, Savory Beef & Vegetables, Fall Pot Roast in a Jar and more. These recipes can be found on my website, and I have many more available in my cookbooks, The Complete Guide to Pressure Canning and Beginner’s Guide to Canning.

Using Frozen Vegetables and Meats when raw stacking

Raw Stacking is one of my favorite methods of filling jars! This method has also inspired many canners to rethink their traditional recipes when a full day of canning is not suitable to their schedule. Using the Raw Stacking Method is also a great way to use up frozen meat and vegetables who are nearing their freezer expiration time. For instance, frozen corn kernels, peas, green beans, potatoes and tomatoes are the perfect frozen vegetable to use when canning a recipe with this method. And, if you’re like me, thawing out my frozen beef tips and lightly searing them in oil is the best way to ensure they do not go to waste in my freezer.

Raw Stacking Using Dried Beans

In cases where we are using dried beans are used in a Raw Stacking recipe it is important to remember the dried beans will absorb the liquid expelled from the other ingredients; including any added water, broth or stock. To avoid an overly dense situation, the dried bean ratio is tested and controlled and should not exceed what the recipe depicts. If you do exceed the ratio of dried beans in each jar, the following will happen:

  1. The beans will enlarge as they absorb liquid, which may cause the other ingredient to rise above the jar rim causing a mess in the canner and a lid failure.
  2. If the lid does seal, and the jar fully and safely process, the upper layers will not be covered by liquid. While this is safe to consume, the issue you will face is oxidization. Meaning the layered ingredients not covered by liquid will start to dry and darken during long-term storage.

To avoid this from happening, follow the recipe’s instructions and do not add extra dried beans when Raw Stacking the recipe’s ingredients.

When not to use the Raw Stacking Method

While there are many wonderful uses for this method, some canning recipes may produce an undesirable result if they are not pre-cooked. Take for instance soup, or chili. When making a batch of chili to preserve, it is imperative we create the recipe using the various outlined steps and cook it on the stovetop prior to filling jars. The beauty of pre-cooking soups and chili is the adequate, and necessary, blending of its many seasonings and ingredients so you achieve its intended flavor in every bite. Not to mention, reducing down a recipe by simmering it on the stovetop removes some of the liquids by way of evaporation, giving you a better, more concentrated flavor.


My fellow canners, I do hope you have FUN trying this new method and canning technique. If you have a recipe you would like to Raw Stack and are unsure the best way to do so, please send me a message on Facebook or Instagram and I will gladly assist you.

Happy Canning!
Diane, The Canning Diva®