Bone Soup: How long?

The Weston Price people for decades have distinguish bone broth from stock as having more minerals due to the longer cooking time and the softening of the bones. Some of the recipes in this vein specify vinegar be added to further soften the bones.

In the last 15 or so years their food philosophy has become more widely known, partly due to the interest in fermentation imo. Now the term bone broth has entered the “foodie” vocabulary but used in a less specific manner.

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Somewhere around 2:1 water:bone is a good place to start. It also depends on the animal. Chicken gives off more flavor by volume than beef, with pork somewhere in the middle. But you can always dilute a strong stock or reduce a weak one. Don’t worry too much and just take the bones you have and cover it with a good amount of water.

I use a lot more water than that. Probably one part meat/bones to 4-5 parts water. I guess because I think of it like osmosis. The more water, the more flavor you can extract.

8 pound bones (roasted) : 6 quarts water

Bring to a boil, then a low simmer for up to 24 hours.

This is for beef stock. I don’t know what bone broth is.

Yeah,still not buying it.

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What do you on/off people do with the broth overnight? Do you refrigerate it
or simply leave it on the stove?

Leave it on the stove. A pot of stock that was just boiling has virtually no chance of growing any reasonable amount of bacteria overnight, especially if it’s been salted, and whatever has grown overnight will get killed when you bring it back to a boil in the morning.

All growing up my mom would leave soups and stews on the counter for days until we finished it, she just made sure to boil it once a day.


Sorry. I confused myself a little. For normal bone broth, I just cook when I am at home and turn the stove off when I go out or go to sleep. For certain stock which I want to maintain a very clear appearance, then I keep it below boiling by turning on (close to boil) and then turn off… after awhile turn back on (close to boil) and then turn off.

I heard a rumor that it is easier to extract the flavor out of meat/bone without salt. Then add the salt back when you are almost done. I heard this from multiple source.

Yep. For clear stock, sometime I just use something like this:

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Me too. But I guess it really depends what you want your bone broth does.

I went thirty two hours with about 12# bones with a couple #s of chicken bones . One half onion . No salt . In about a 4 1/2 gallon pot topped off with water . The smoke alarm armed I quietly went to sleep with the broth very slowly bubbling overnight on my Wedgewood stove . A beautiful smell to awaken to and look at the magic happening in the pot . Most excellent .

That’s funny, because most of my cookbooks tell you to add salt when making stock. Marcella Hazan, who studied chemistry, tells you to add salt to onions when you fry them, to draw out the liquid. And of course she tells you to add salt when making brodo, or stock. The only exception is Elizabeth David, and her reasoning is that the stock will probably be reduced, and then the result would be too salty. Or as she herself put it, “too salt.”

True stock doesn’t use salt, because it’s generally used as a component to build other dishes, such as sauces, braises, or soups. Its gelatinous quality adds thickness and richness. If you salt the stock, then reduce it, e.g., for a sauce, the salt will be concentrated in the final dish. You won’t have control of the the seasoning when making your sauce.

OK, but why not salt bone broth if you’re planning on consuming it, not reducing it.

You can salt broth all you want, but because of evaporation, although you are reducing the volume of liquid, the amount of salt stays the same, so it’s best to wait to season until toward the end of cooking time. Think of a salt lick.

This is standard for most dishes in which the volume of liquid is reduced during cooking.

Broths are usually consumed as a soup, they are not components and are not very gelatinous, if at all.

I do make bone “broth” (technicality!) from scratch, and it takes at least 2 or 3 days at a low simmer. Oh, and I use induction because I don’t want my electric bill to look like the national debt! Allergies force me to use grass fed beef and bones, so “economical” is a joke. I made barbecue beef ribs for 2 yesterday and the ribs alone were $35.00. Buttttt… economy is possible! Here is the secret:

Dissolve 1 Tbsp of unflavored gelatin per 8 oz of store bought beef broth and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes stirring constantly.

It really works! It will gel when refrigerated just like the bone broth I make from scratch, but it is sooooo much cheaper! Plus you can make it by the cup or by the bucket full. Nutritionally, it’s pretty much identical to bone broth, or may even be a bit richer in collagen.

I’m pretty persnickety about flavor, so I use Walmart’s 32 ounce boxes of organic flavored beef broth ($1.98) and order organic beef gelatin online. If organic isn’t critical for you, Knox unflavored gelatin works just fine and is available in most supermarkets. Enjoy!


Thank you!

I think we should use the 2 terms “mineral broth” and “stock”. None of this “broth, bone soup, bone broth” biznez!

Btw, pressure cooking is so so so important for stock making. Better flavor, only takes 60 to 90 minutes, doesn’t stink up the house all day. Get an electric one and it replaces your crockpot and rice cooker. Plus it’s Steampunk.
Really, everyone needs one.

Are you familiar with Wardee Harmon covers stock making and has recently been putting out a number of pressure cooker videos on YouTube. Check it out:

*Also, for anyone complaining that the high temperatures damage nutrients, I’m pretty sure the science of steam cooking and using water to transfer heat actually retains the structure on many nutrients. This is probably especially true for beef broth, which can take a looong time to cook. I remember reading a study that found microwave steamed veggies were more nutritious than roasted because of the shortened cooking time. But fortunately, pressure cooking doesn’t involve making water molecules go absolutely berserk (like a microwave). Microwaves mainly cook by rapidly moving isolated water molecules to generate heat. It basically rips up your food. Steam is gentler, moving gradually until everything becomes hot together. A team effort really.

*Also also, if you’re going to freeze be VERY careful using glass containers. In fact… just dont. They can burst and it really sucks. I cool my broth in glass/metal, and then transfer to food grade plastic yogurt containers. I’d rather use a different material, but plastic will have to do. Don’t pour it when it’s hot, you might melt the plastic, plus who knows what contaminates leech with hot temps. I don’t trust even “bpa free” stuff.

Are you saying store bought beef broth (first ingredient usually water) and a packet of gelatin has the equivalent health benefits of making stock from real bones and meat?

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold