Cooking and Eating Bones

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 07, 2011 at 9:18 AM

So I have read of a study which tested the water after 18 hours or more or something of a bone broth that was acidic to leach calcium from the bones and the water contained less than 50 mg of calcium per serving, so I am considering eating the bones. Does anyone have any information for how long to cook the bones (beef, turkey or chicken) until they are able to be eaten? Is eating a bone too much calcium because all we need a day is 1 gram and it isn't good to surpass levels too high with calcium. How much calcium is absorbed from eating bones?

Also, does anyone have any information about the nutrition content of bone broths? That could be very helpful as well. Thank you for anyone who has any advice or who has tried to help.



on January 21, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Interesting. It seems heavy metals can take the place of calcium in bones. You'd want to be sure the animal you're eating did not eat heavy metals. This was probably more common in the days before unleaded gas.

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10 Answers



on September 07, 2013
at 12:44 AM

Any time you make something as variable as bone broth, you are going to get a different nutritional profile. It is good to understand the nutritional content of the foods you eat, but it's just a general guide, not an unwavering law.

Once you stop eating processed foods, all bets are off. You can look up the nutritional information for an apple, but that information is based on a composite of several apples--none of which is the apple in your hand. The apple in your hand will have unique characteristics based on soil quality, weather, how recently it was picked, etc. In the same manner, every time you make broth it is going to be different.

I cook my broth for about 24 hours and then reuse the bones to make more broth until the broth stops gelling (for me that is usually two batches of chicken broth and three to four batches of beef/pork broth). Unless I send it out to a commercial lab, there is no way to know exactly how much calcium is in each serving of the broth and the next batch would be different anyway.

If you feel you need more calcium than you get from bone broth, there are other things you can also add to your diet. Canned sardines or salmon with the bones is a great source. There is also calcium in dark leafy greens, oranges, and almonds.

However, I wouldn't ditch the bone broth just because you don't think it's giving you enough calcium. There are lots of benefits to bone broth. Calcium is just one of them.



on May 23, 2013
at 04:21 PM

I grew up on a working ranch in the Ozark Mountains. We did things old school (as in the same as my family had 'always' done; my Grandparents, not great-grand, were born in the 1880s). After pressure cooking (for us, that's modern, I know) or parboiling for extended periods, we always ate some of the softened neck bones, oxtail bones and ribs. I'm not claiming we ate every last one but you ate some of them.

I'm not a scientist but we suffered no ills from doing it. Also, our meat was wild or open range (how we raised). That said, I'd absolutely do it again. I also still eat marrow, even if it's not free range. I'm not eating tons of it, just the odd teaspoon now and then (it's delicious, so is fried blood).



on October 11, 2012
at 07:29 PM

Am I the only one who eats lamb stock bones? After simmering for 12 hours with red wine vinegar they get so soft you can easily chew them. As soft as most nuts!



on December 07, 2011
at 08:27 PM

I think Kewpie said it beautifully. Bone broth is one piece of a composite that we hope adds up to robust nutrition.

A little vinegar in the slow-cooked stew will be a mild tenderizer for tougher cuts of meat and will add just a little tang to the veggies. There's no doubt that with or without vinegar a good bone broth is a firm jell-o consistency and full of dissolved joint linings and tenderized cartilage, etc. If you put veggies such as broccoli in the pot, much of the vitamin content is now in the broth.

I eat some every day along with my muscle meat, yogurt, dark green salad, etc. If I'm deficient in anything I sure can't tell!



on December 07, 2011
at 01:54 PM

I'm not sure it's a good idea to actually eat the softened bones- see this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_meal

Why not just drink the broth or use it as soup base, and crush the bones to use in the garden for plant/bulbs that like phosphorus?



on January 21, 2012
at 09:19 PM

Interesting. It seems heavy metals can take the place of calcium in bones. You'd want to be sure the animal you're eating did not eat heavy metals. This was probably more common in the days before unleaded gas.



on January 21, 2012
at 09:18 PM

As an adult male with pretty typical teeth and a few fillings, I find I can easily eat the bones from a baked or roasted chicken. The drumstick and thigh bones (femur and tibia?) take a bit of extra chewing but will reduce to mush like everything else. Bones that are boiled in soup are softer, and bones that are toasted to the point of crunchiness more brittle and easier to reduce by chewing. I do this pretty regularly, especially with an expensive pastured chicken where I hate to waste any part. I have never had any digestive or other trouble from this practice, and in fact it seems to be the norm in some parts of the world.

Small bones from other animals, such as in pigs or calves feet, get mushy after boiling and you may or may not enjoy them. I always chew steak or rib bones until free of any marrow or cartilage scraps. To me that's where all the best flavor is.



on May 22, 2013
at 11:46 PM

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on August 04, 2012
at 01:47 PM

You want to make sure that you have plenty of vitamin D3, and vitamin K2 in your diet so that your body can utilized the extra calcium otherwise you can't absorb it (as these are both fat soluble vitamins you need to make sure you are eating enough fat with it). I have heard that these vitamins must be consumed in the same meal in order to utilize the calcium, however, I am not 100% sure about that.

As long as you have all of the co nutrients, your body should be able to deal with and absorb extra dietary calcium.



on January 21, 2012
at 07:01 PM

I don't eat bones, but I have intentionally overcooked them in a pressure cooker after using them for a bone broth. They get mushy and can be easily broken into smaller pieces and composted.



on December 07, 2011
at 08:06 PM

i tried eating some pieces of bone out of my stock pot once and i was nauseous; i don't think its good for me.

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