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Can I cook bone broth repeatedly until the bones are completely disolved?

by (15)
Updated September 16, 2014 at 8:06 PM
Created April 07, 2013 at 6:18 AM

Most people say bone broth should be cooked for a maximum of 72 hours. I've been going 6 days now. each day i drain out the liquid and refill the crock pot with fresh spring water. Although most if not all the collagen is gone, i have a hunch there's still lots of nutrients like calcium saturating the water each time the pot is filled. The broth has a fine light golden translucency each time, and tastes great. the bones are mostly sand at the base of the pot with a few pea sized bits. can i keep this going until all the materials have been consumed and nothings left in the pot? Waste nothing? I'm going to try this unless someone can give me a good reason not to :)

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3280 · May 11, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Why do you think the good stuff only leeches out in the first pass, and the bad stuff decides to wait till the second pass?

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1523 · April 08, 2013 at 3:42 PM

Yup sounds just like mine. I use apple cider vinegar every once in a while, but not all of the time.

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15 · April 07, 2013 at 6:09 PM

naw, it's good to know that others are wondering the same thing.

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15 · April 07, 2013 at 4:10 PM

wow, 3 months is a long time! I'm using beef bones and they're grinding down just fine; most of it is sediment by now... but they weren't roasted, the crock pot is on low, no vinegar or any other ingredients are added, and each time the pot gets refilled with water I put my hands in there to break the bones down as small they can get. Each time they are much softer and can be ground down further.

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1523 · April 07, 2013 at 1:56 PM

I do this too. In fact, I have sediment from 3 months of broth in the ol crockpot. I generally just scoop out what I can with my hands, and squeeze it to get all the broth out, chicken bones tend to crumble down, beef and deer not so much, but don't bother to filter it further.

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3 Answers

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50 · May 11, 2013 at 2:56 PM

You can cook the bones till they dissolve and eat it all in an ideal world and it wouldn't be a problem - the minerals and nutrients in the bones would be beneficial.

However, there is a problem due to pollution/ exposure of the animal to toxins (chemicals, heavy metals). Which is normal and would vary based on where the animals were reared and the quality of the environment there.

In the animals heavy metals such as lead accumulate in the bones and will be seeped into the broth increasingly the further you break down/ dissolve the bones.

The best is to cook the broth long enough to get the benefits from the gelatin from the bones, but not long enough so that the bones are dissolving themselves.

A couple of days on low heat is the roughly where you should keep your upper limit before the bones start dissolving more (this is a rough estimate of course, judge the broth yourself by checking visually for signs of bone decomposure).

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3280 · May 11, 2013 at 3:21 PM

Why do you think the good stuff only leeches out in the first pass, and the bad stuff decides to wait till the second pass?

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343 · April 13, 2013 at 11:40 AM

To add to my previous non-answer, I've since tried reusing bones twice, and both times the second broth has gelled just fine. For beef broth I added one fresh additional bone the second time round, and for pork broth I didn't add any new bones, just the fresh water and vinegar.

I can't say anything about the nutritional content, but taste-wise they were just as good. There was definitely more sediment though so will need more straining. I didn't go for a third try, but I'll definitely re-use them at least once from now on!

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343 · April 07, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Hmmm... I'd be interested in an answer to this, too. I cook my bone broth in the slow cooker for about 36 hours. The bones can be crumbly by that point but they're still fairly solid. Is it worth keeping those bones in for a second broth afterwards? Would I need to throw in some fresh bones too to get any benefit?

Sorry to answer your question with more questions!

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15 · April 07, 2013 at 6:09 PM

naw, it's good to know that others are wondering the same thing.

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