How to Make Perpetual Broth in Your Crock Pot
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How to Make Perpetual Broth in Your Crock Pot

virginia April 16, 2014

Have you ever made a big batch of bone broth, simmered it all day, smelled the goodness, bottled it up… and then were hesitant to use it because then it would be gone? Maybe that’s just me, but when I found myself making broth, even in the slow cooker, I didn’t want to use it because then it would be gone and I’d have to make more. Until I discovered perpetual broth.

I wish I could say that perpetual broth was my idea because it’s brilliant. When you remove liquid from your slow cooker to drink, make soup, or cook your rice in, simply replace it with filtered water. Continue in this manner for a week or so, bottle up what’s left in there, dispose of the bones, and start again. I’ll detail the process further below.

Why Bone Broth?

Making your own bone broth is beyond thrifty, it’s plain ‘ol cheap. But why? What is the benefit to cooking bones for hours, especially when you can use that handy powdered stuff you can keep in the cupboard?

Bone broth is a nutritional powerhouse. It contains many minerals, like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium. It contains gelatin which is very soothing and healing to the gut. There’s some truth to the old “chicken soup” remedy.

Traditionally, bone broth is made by simmering bones at a low temperature for a long period of time. On the stovetop, typically 6-12 hours minimum. I have been making mine in the crockpot for years, and let it simmer on “warm” for 24 hours before using it.

Bone Broth Ingredients | Perpetual Broth at Modern Alternative Mama by Virginia George

Choosing Your Ingredients

Toxins like lead and fluoride can be concentrated in the bones, however, so it’s important to have a trusted source for your meat bones. If there is a Trader Joe’s near you, you may be able to find organic chicken drumsticks at a much cheaper price than a whole chicken. If you buy your meat directly from the farm, it’s likely you can ask for soup bones.

Chicken bones can typically be used without special preparation because the chicken was likely cooked before it was deboned. Beef, however, benefits from roasting. I just put my bones in a shallow pan and roast at 350F for 45 minutes to an hour. Then I proceed with broth making!

While there is concern about lead in bones, I read an interesting article discussing the lead levels in organic broth found in a study by Medical Hypothesis. You can read the study abstract here. Basically, while the researchers found higher levels of lead in the broth than they did in the tap water it was made with, levels still fell several points below the EPA’s allowed level in tap water. It’s just a good reminder to source your ingredients carefully.

Making Perpetual Broth

Most people find that starting with cooked bones is best. Simply take your bones and leftover scraps of meat and place them in your slow cooker. Add some vegetables if you’d like, I typically add celery and carrot. You want to avoid any vegetables with overpowering flavors like radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, and the like. Onions may also discolor your broth, so keep that in mind if you use it. It’s a good idea to use organic vegetables for making broth, at least vegetables on the Dirty Dozen list.

I stick with carrots and celery, a couple bay leaves, and some whole peppercorns. Fill the crock with cool, filtered water and add a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (ACV). This is an important step, so try not to skip it, though you can. Adding the ACV will help to draw the minerals out of the bones, so you want to let it sit for an hour or two before turning on the crockpot.

Turn the crockpot on low and let simmer for 24 hours. I find my crock pot gets warm enough to just barely boil on the “warm” setting, so after it is heated up I turn it to warm. In 24 hours you’ll have a delicious, nutritious dietary staple, far superior to the flakes in the cupboard. Each day when you go to use your broth, simply remove what you need and replace it with more filtered water. I just scoop it out and pour it through a fine mesh strainer if there are vegetables or “other” things floating around.

Filter and Bottle Your Broth | Perpetual Broth at Modern Alternative Mama by Virginia George

After a week I draw off the remaining liquid and put it in the fridge, can it in a pressure canner, or freeze for another time. Then I repeat the process.

We consume much more broth now because I don’t have to worry that I’ll run out before I have time to roast another chicken. By the end of the week, the bones fall apart at the lightest touch because all the nutrients have been taken from the bones and put into the broth. This is a way to truly get everything you can out of one meal!

Do you make your own bone broth? What is your preferred method, and do you think you might try perpetual broth?

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Virginia is a firefighter wife and mother of 4. She loves Jesus, coffee, dark chocolate, essential oils, and inspiring women to love the Lord and themselves. Find her on her blog, Periscope, Instagram, and Facebook for encouragement in faith, motherhood, mental, and natural health.
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12 Comments

  1. Hello
    I LOVE this ! Seriously ! Its very similar to what my former hubbies parents used to do many, many years ago. He said there was always a large pot on the back of the woodstove (yes they lived in the boonies). There they would throw in leftovers from dinners and more water (refilling as needed, daily). This was repeated everyday, as the ingredients would simmer down to blending into the broth. Every now and then they would strain the contents, save the broth and start again. He said they frequently had soups or his father (a cook in the army) would make something else including the broth into it.
    I remember I thought he was crazy and then one day I decided to try it……. turned out they were right……. it was delicious. I now frequently do this, but freeze the resulting broth if I don’t need it.

    Nice to see someone else re-starting an old tradition

    Reply

    • The crock pot is such an easy way to make nourishing broth, and you don’t have to leave a fire on overnight!

      Thank you for sharing your story! What a fun remembrance of delicious, wholesome food!

      Reply

  2. I simmered mine in the crock pot this past week for 3 days and it didn’t taste as good to me as when it is just simmered for 6 to 8 hours. Do you notice a difference in taste the longer you simmer it?

    Reply

    • Hmm. I never really use it until at least 24 hours because it’s a lower cooking temperature than cooking on the stovetop. After several days it definitely is different than after the first 24 hours, especially if I haven’t used it much, but I’ve always thought the taste was fine.

      Reply

      • I tried this broth method to save some money since we live bone broth but paying $5 a quart is just too much. I cooked the whole chicken for 24 hours, took the meat off the bones for a chicken soup and removed broth before filling it up again. After 48 hours it was still great. I removed more broth and refilled. But on the 3rd day I went to get the broth out and upon lifting the lid I was punched in the face with the smell of rancid meat. What did I do wrong and how did it go bad? I kept it going on warm in my slow cooker the whole time. Thanks in advance for you insight!

        Reply

    • You do need to strain your broth every now and again. Vegetables like carrots, celery, onions, and garlic as well as meat bits can make the broth taste burnt even in a slow cooker. Strain EVERYTHING out, including little bits of meat. You will be left with about half the volume, that’s okay! Just add water. Remember… you are not throwing away nutrients. The nutrients are IN the broth. Adding water is a good thing! Just let it cook for a few more hours and you are good! After a few days of drinking the broth, you should strain it ALL, then, add more bones, then more vegetables, then, strain it all again! Just do it over and over….

      Reply

  3. Hi there! This sounds really interesting. Do you have to simmer the broth again after you added more water to replace the broth you took out? Or is the broth at the end of the week a watered down version of the original broth?
    Thanks!

    Reply

    • I leave my crock pot on “warm” the whole week, so it’s constantly cooking. At the end of the week the broth is actually often darker than at the beginning, full of rich flavor, and the bones nearly disintegrate when you take them out. This means that all that nutrition that was in those bones is now in your broth!

      Reply

  4. […] wrote a post the other day over at Modern Alternative Mama about how to have broth all week long. I found it has been revolutionary for me. It’s never […]

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  5. […] your own is quite simple.  According to this article, burning bones (maybe left over from homemade stock?) and wood chips can make a great fertilizer along with leftover fish parts.  Those three […]

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  6. […] is a link for Perpetual Broth. Basically, you make broth in your crockpot and then scoop out broth when you need it, and remove […]

    Reply

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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