Homemade bone broth is good for a couple of days in the fridge, up to 3-4 days once it has been made. However, its ability to keep long depends on the freshness of the ingredients, type of storage used and how it was stored. We even discuss the many ways to freeze broth, find out the pros and cons of using glass, metal, silicone or plastic containers and which is the best option.
What is Bone Broth?
Bone broth is is a nutrient-rich liquid derived from simmering animal bones and its connective tissue and cartilage over a long period of time, generally for hours on end. You can use herbs or apple cider vinegar to improve flavor.
As a result, it is a nourishing food that contains collagen, minerals, amino acids, vitamins, enzymes and other nutrients. It’s also rich in gelatin, which makes it an excellent base for soups, sauces and desserts.
Bone broth is usually made from bones (such as beef, chicken, lamb, pork, fish, turkey and pretty much anything else that has a backbone!) It can be made with vegetables too using onions, savoy cabbage and root veggies such as carrots and potatoes.
In English, it is called broth whereas the French call it “bouillon” (bo͞o(l)yän/), the Italians named it “brodo” and the Spanish call it “caldo”.
Benefits of Bone Broth
The Common Misconception Of Bone Broth
Simmering animal bones with vinegar for almost 24 hours allows calcium to be extracted and seep into the broth as an added benefit. When boiling them up to 100℃, the presence of vegetables such as onions, carrots and savoy cabbage help to increase the presence of iron, calcium and magnesium. These minerals are essential to building and strengthening our own bones.
However, bone broths aren’t the best sources for calcium and magnesium as most people believe.
A research conducted back in August 1934 by King’s College Hospital in London, had discovered that homemade broth made from bones and vegetables have a much lower nutritional value than cow’s milk. The calcium content in cow’s milk was almost 22 times more than what was present in the kitchen broth sample and magnesium was 7 times higher in favor of cow’s milk. Only the iron content was fractionally higher in the kitchen broth showing a reading of 0.15 mgm (miligram) per cc (cubic centimeter also known as mililitre or ml) when compared to cow’s milk that displayed 0.11 mgm per cc.
What Are The Real Benefits of Bone Broth?
So is there still a point in consuming bone broth then? Yes, there is.
Bone broth provides a unique way for the body to absorb nutrients from foods. It isn’t intended to be consumed alone as a standalone dish.
Modern society has long broken away from the ways of our forefathers who would traditionally consume an animal from nose to tail that would have given us a more holistic approach to our diet. These days bones and cartilage are literally turned into pet food and we end up consuming only certain parts of the animal while losing out on bone broth’s real benefits such as;
- Nutrients like collagen and certain amino acids that can promote skin elasticity, hydration and overall texture.
- Glycine that is also found in collagen is present in your gelatinous bone broth. It helps to decrease inflammation and even lowered body fat based on this clinical study.
- Bone marrow has a very unique environment in the body that is responsible for blood cell production and renewal called hematopoiesis. It also contains a good amount of calories and fat especially protein and vitamin B12.
Why Add Bone Broth To Your Diet?
- An easily digestible nutrient-dense liquid that the body can easily absorb in a hurry for recovery during sickness.
- An easy way to get all of your essential vegetable intake for the day, if your bone broth is combined with vegetables. Saves you cooking up multiple dishes.
- Less food waste as you are extending the use of other parts of the meat that you would have otherwise thrown away. Adapt a nose to tail approach to cooking.
- Bone broth can be easily used to flavor other dishes such as casseroles or stews.
- You can easily change up the taste of the broth too according to the seasons and what is available, making this a very inexpensive part of the family meal.
- Uses simple tools and equipment. All you will ever need for your bone broth is a sharp knife, a chopping board and a pot.
How To Make Bone Broth Last Longer In The Freezer?
If you want to know how long does bone broth last in the freezer, it can be up to 6 months with quality ingredients and proper storage. Making bone broth last longer in the freezer is a great way to ensure that you have a ready supply of nutrient-rich liquid on hand. To make your leftover broth last longer, it’s important to follow some simple steps:
1. Use high-quality ingredients including quality bones: The quality of the bones you use will determine how long your bone broth will last in the freezer. Look for bones from your local butcher as they are normally ready in the early morning after they have turned the meat into saleable cuts. I know I need to contact my butcher a day before to make sure he keeps the bones for me.
2. Cool the broth completely before freezing: Allow your bone broth to cool down to room temperature before transferring it into a freezer-safe container. This will help prevent the growth of bacteria and ensure that your broth stays fresh for longer.
3. Use airtight containers: Make sure to use airtight containers such as glass jars or plastic bags when storing your bone broth in the freezer. This will help keep out any moisture or oxygen which can cause spoilage and reduce the shelf life of your broth.
4. Label and date the containers: Labeling and dating your containers is important so you know exactly when you made the broth and how long it has been in the freezer for. This will help you keep track of how long it has been stored and make sure that you don’t consume any expired products.
5. Freeze in small batches: Freezing your bone broth in small batches is a great way to ensure that you are able to use up all of the product within a reasonable amount of time, rather than having large amounts go bad due to overstocking or not being used quickly enough.
6. Store at 0°F (-18°C): This will help ensure that your broth stays fresh and safe to consume for up to 6 months.
7. Adding preservatives: Adding a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice can help preserve its flavor and extend its shelf life up to 7-8 days in the fridge and 24 months in your freezer. However, it would leave a little tanginess that some agree with.
Are you trying to maximize your broth making efforts by making a large batch and then freezing it in batches for use at later times? I know that the preparation for the broth is not as time consuming as the time it takes to turn it into broth. This is why I make enough to last 3 days and then do it all over again the following week.
However, I know some of you would prefer to do an even bigger batch and want to know ways how to freeze broth in batches so you will always have it at hand for when you need to use it as a base for your soup, stew, gravy or casserole dishes.
Therefore, choosing the right storage solution is essential to ensure that your broth will keep well for that intended period of time as it can make a difference to the quality of your broth.
Why use glass to freeze broth?
Glass is an inexpensive, widely available as individual storage units for all kinds of food. However, we recommend at least using a boro silicate composition such as Pyrex which makes it the most affordable version yet close to “unbreakable” glass when frozen. Avoid cheap regular glass versions if you do not want to be disappointed with cracked jars.
- Freezer and canning approved glass jars with a wide mouth.
- Stackable glass storage containers either round or rectangular ones with a wide mouth.
- Glass has a higher freezing point than other materials such as plastic or aluminum. This means that it will be able to withstand temperatures much lower than those used for freezing food.
- By using glass, it also allows you to see if your broth is frozen properly. If there are any bubbles in the liquid, then it’s not frozen correctly.
- Glass can be sterilized and cleaned easily with hot water and soap.
- If you forget to leave about an inch from the top or filled it too much to the brim, the glass could crack due to expansion, especially if you are using mason jars.
- Can be a very affordable option but it is advisable to use dual purpose glass jars that are approved for both freezing and canning which may be more expensive.
- Very slow to thaw.
How to freeze bone broth in glass?
- Wait for your both to completely cool down or keep your broth chilled in the refrigerator before freezing. Strain your broth.
- Pour them into your glass containers. You can portion your broth at this stage using measuring cups. Leave about 1 inch of room from the lid to allow for expansion.
- Close the containers with lids slightly loose or not completely air-tight just yet, then place into the freezer. This allows for air to escape.
- Label them with the date you froze them and they will be good for up to 6 months.
- After a few hours, tighten and seal the lids for longer storage time.
How to thaw frozen bone broth in glass?
- Transfer your frozen broth in glass containers from the freezer to the refrigerator for 1-2 days before. If you are going to use it later that evening, allow to thaw on the countertop sitting on top of a tea towel. Do not run cool tap water onto your glass containers right after taking them out from the freezer as this might crack the glass. If you want to speed up the thawing process, you will have to wait for a few hours for the frozen glass container to come to room temperature before speeding up the thawing process by standing it in a mixing bowl of cold water.
- After a few more hours, swirl the contents a little to get them unstuck from the sides of the glass container, then tip the partially frozen contents in a pot and warm it up that way.
- Avoid overcooking your broth by not bringing it to a rolling boil for too long, as the broth is already cooked. Once it gets to a boiling point, lower the flame for a gentle simmer.
Why use metal to freeze broth?
Metal is a great choice for freezing broth because it is durable, non-porous and can withstand extreme temperatures. Metal containers are very durable and can last for many years.
- Stainless steel metal containers with leak proof lids.
- 12-24 cup size metal muffin trays.
- They are also non-porous which means that they won’t absorb any odors or flavors from the broth.
- Unbreakable and rust-free.
- Non-leaching material that will not leach odor or chemicals into your broth.
- Usable in the oven if it is stainless steel.
- Store in convenient portioned amounts when using the muffin tin method.
- Almost no wait time for thawing.
- Can not be used directly in the microwave for a quick thaw.
- May not be usable in the oven either if it is not stainless steel. Read the manual for your correct use of your product before purchasing to be sure.
How to freeze bone broth in metal containers?
- Allow broth to completely cool to room temperature. At this stage, strain your broth, measure and portion out your broth while placing it into your metal containers.
- I don’t find it necessary but some feel it is better to leave the lids slightly closed by not sealing off all of the corners then place it in the freezer for a few hours. You want to remove as much air as possible from the containers before sealing it completely to avoid freezer burn.
- Label them with the date you froze them and they will be good for up to 6 months.
How to thaw frozen bone broth in metal containers?
- When utilizing metal muffin tins, remove the tray from the freezer and wait for about 5-10 minutes before prying out your muffin tin portioned broth with a metal knife.
- If you are going to use all of the portions for a big dish then you can also plug your sink and fill it with cold water. Let your frozen metal container sit in the water for a short while. The water level should be below the container’s mouth to avoid tap water seeping into your frozen broth.
- Shake the container sideways to break up the partially frozen bone broth and then pop its contents into a pan or pot.
- Bring to a boil then simmer down before adding other ingredients if you wish.
Silicone material is flexible, non-porous and some brands like Souper Cubes have been made to withstand freezing and baking temperatures of up to 415°CF (approx. 200°C)
- Silicone ice cube trays with lids for mini portions.
- Silicone cup size molds with alloy steel frames and lids.
- Can be made from food grade silicone with some parts being plastic and metal.
- Container shape can be slim, stackable and laid down flat so it takes up very little space in the freezer.
- Lid allows expansion when freezing and reduces freezer burn and odor.
- Can be stored in convenient portioned amounts of 1 cup size.
- No wait time for thawing as you can just pop them out from their silicone molds and straight onto a pan or pot right away.
- May be more expensive than other materials used to freeze broth such as metal or glass containers.
How to freeze bone broth in silicone containers?
- Allow broth to completely cool to room temperature. Strain your broth before pouring into your silicone and plastic container of your choice (ice cube tray or silicone mold). It’s really not necessary but you can leave the lid slightly loose by not sealing off all of the corners then place it in the freezer for an hour.
- Come back to it and snap all sides of the corners close to seal the container. This way you would have removed as much air as possible from the container before sealing it to prevent freezer burn.
- By tomorrow, you can pop out your frozen broth portions into Ziploc plastic freezer bags to save even more space in your freezer or when you need your silicone molds again to freeze more broth.
- Label them with the date you froze them and they will be good for up to 6 months.
Our top recommendation;
How to thaw frozen bone broth in silicone containers?
- When using silicone containers, remove the tray from the freezer.
- Pop out desired portions straight onto a pan.
- Give it a simmer until they are completely reheated before consuming.
Can I refreeze bone broth after thawing it?
It is normally not recommended to refreeze bone broth you have completely thawed out as this can cause a reduction in quality and your broth coming in and out of the danger zone. The danger zone is the temperature range between 40°F – 140°F (approx. 4°C – 60°C) that is considered the most conducive condition for bacterial growth.
According to USDA, food should not be left out of the freezer or refrigerator for more than 2 hours. The longer you have left your bone broth out of the freezer or refrigerator to thaw, the higher the risk of it being exposed to bacterial contamination.
However, some may argue that this guideline is highly conservative and it is meant to protect the general public and therefore, it will be up to the individual to gauge their own willingness to accept risk.
As bone broth comes from meat and it is in liquid form it will freeze well but the quality will deteriorate quickly if you have left it out on the kitchen countertop to defrost. This means, refreezing it and defrosting it the same way may lead to some signs of spoilage like a slightly unpleasant taste. No doubt, bacteria will have played a role in that too, even though you may not fall ill after consuming your broth.
In order to maintain quality and minimize the risk of bacterial growth, it will depend on how quickly your broth freezes and defrosts while still remaining below the 40°F (approx. 4°C) level.
This is why freezing bone broth in glass or metal containers can be challenging as they require a long thawing process, generally overnight or for 2 days in the refrigerator. If you want to have your broth that evening, you would be tempted to leave it out on the countertop for the rest of the day or soak it in a water bath to speed up the thawing process. If you have done it that way, it is best not to refreeze your bone broth.
The better practice would have been to transfer them from the freezer to the refrigerator to thaw for 1 or 2 days. By then, if you are still considering refreezing your bone broth, you can only refreeze the refrigerated portion.
Try to portion your broth before freezing it so that you will only use what you need. Consequently, there will be no need to refreeze it and there will be less waste.
How Long Is Bone Broth Good For In The Fridge Summary
How long is bone broth good for in the fridge will greatly depend on the quality of your ingredients and how you have stored it. It is normally good for up to 4 days.
If you want to keep your leftover broth for longer by using your freezer, how long does bone broth last then? It can keep well for up to 6 months but it depends on how quickly you freeze and defrost it for use and how it is stored.
Glass, stainless steel metal, silicone and plastic containers are all really good options to keep your leftover bone broth in the fridge.
An alloy steel frame with silicone molded portioned sized containers from Souper Cubes is so far the best way for freezing bone broth. With its non-leaching, durable yet flexible silicone material, you can be sure that your bone broth will taste just as good as when you first made it. The huge plus is that you don’t have to wait for it to completely thaw, just pop it out from the silicone molds directly into the pan. Simmer the portions down completely then serve immediately.
In terms of glass, the common mason jars seem to be the cheapest option but it does come with its set of drawbacks. Wide mouth glass jars does make it easier to draw the broth out even when it is partially thawed but the wait time for the thawing process is way too slow.
One of our writers, Susie Wilson ate or drank broth every single day for about 2 1/2 years. It has amazing healing qualities and she can tell you from her personal experience that it worked brilliantly to reduce inflammation in her digestive system.