How Long Should I Cook Bone Broth?
There is no right answer to this question.
It depends. Broth is a miracle food. It is tasty. It is good for you. It can make you well.
The inescapable truth is that the longer you simmer a broth, the better it gets.
Now, if you are dealing with some serious gastrointestinal health issues, there are some benefits and reasons for cooking bone broth for shorter periods.
The longer you cook bone broths, the richer they become. Richer is generally better. It means more goodness. It means more minerals. It means more has been extracted from those bones.
There are cases, when “less rich” is desired.
My friend has travelled over the hills and through the woods on the GAPS diet in order to help heal her family from some food issues. On her voyage, there was a time when thinner, simple broths were mandatory.
For most of us trying to just stay healthy and detox – the longer we can stand to watch those pots simmer, the better it will be.
I love bone broth. I know it’s really good for me. I know my kids love it. I know it’s an easy meal for a busy schedule. So, I make it. I am still learning much about this nutritional giant. I’m going to share my latest discovery in the bone-broth realm.
Let’s go backwards. Here are 2 batches of beef bone-broth I made last week.
Both of these batches of bone broth were made with the same bones.
They were made with the same ingredients (bones, onions, garlic cloves, raw apple cider vinegar & seasoning).
They were both refrigerated overnight.
They are both sitting here in these little glass ramekins the same temperature (cold).
Same bones, same pot, same veggies, same refrigerator, same stove-top, same spices, same everything.
The one on the left is bone-broth jello. It is full of wonderful, healing, natural gelatin. The one on the right is thinner. Why?
The only difference is how long the broth was “simmered.”
The recommended cooking time for beef bone-broth is 24-48 hours. I usually cook mine for 1-2 days which puts it around the 24 hour mark.
Here’s the evidence from my kitchen for longer cooking times:
After evaluating the broth from day 1, I decided that the bones were still dripping with meat, marrow, fat and delicious goodness that needed to be cooked out of them. They still had some life left in them. So, I went to my Berkey and grabbed more filtered water & topped off the pot (which already included the broth/bones/veggies that cooked for 10 hours yesterday). I grabbed 3 more onions, another bulb of garlic, some vinegar , seasoning & tossed them in the pot. I put it back on the stove & cooked (simmered) it another 10+ hours.
I strained the second batch of broth into a storage container and stuck it into the refrigerator next to some I had strained off after the first day of cooking. Isn’t wasn’t until the next day that I noticed the difference.
The first batch that was cooked 10 hours was a thin and watery. The second batch that was cooked over 20 hours was bone jello. Same flavor.
Jello is what you want. Jello is (one of the) goals in bone-broth making. Jello means a slam-dunk in the gelatin department. I now understand why the cooking time for beef bone-broth is 24-48 hours. It took 20+ hours before the gelatin really emerged from these bones.
I don’t follow any strict guidelines when I make my broth. I probably should. If I’m making chicken or turkey bone-broth; I cook it for 1 day (8-12 hours). If I’m making beef bone-broth I will let it simmer for 2 days (20+hours). When I say 2 days, here is what I am doing: I cook it all day long on day one – stick it in the fridge over night – and plop it back on the stove-top for another marathon simmer the next day – strain it at the end of day 2 & give the chickens what’s left in the pot.
I also must confess that my broth is not necessarily consumed after it’s ideal 1 or 2 day cooking schedule. We are always home. The smell of a pot of bubbling broth can be a bit distracting while you are reading Sergeant York and the Great War (awesome book by the way). As a result, it is common for several servings to be lost throughout the day around here. Yum.
I’m confident the broth is fabulous for my little army whether it’s been simmering 5 hours or 25. I think it just peaks in wonderfulness after longer cooking times.
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