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I am trying to cook bone broth in a pot on an electric stove like this one enter image description here and it needs to simmer for at least a day (so the stove is set to a low temperature). Is it safe to leave the stove unattended like this overnight? Assuming, of course, that there is enough water in the broth such that it won't all evaporate overnight. I know that a crock pot would be ideal for this but I don't have one (or the means to get one right now) and at this point the broth has already been simmering for a few hours.

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Is it safe? That depends on a lot of factors. Generally, no. It isn't. A blog post from the Healthy Home Economist has the opinion of a firefighter:

One gal mentioned that her husband was a firefighter and that leaving a stockpot simmering overnight or while they were out of the house was completely out of the question.

Source.

The NFPA says the same, as this informational PDF sheet illustrates.

Since you cannot get a crock pot my only other suggestion is to simmer your bone broth in the oven. If your pot is oven safe and you trust your oven's ability to keep a steady low temperature, then try it in there.

If you plan on making bone broth more often, a crock pot is a great investment and if you check out your local Goodwill or Salvation Army store you might find an older but still perfectly usable model for an excellent price. It would also allow you to slow cook your broth overnight safely (and uses less electricity to do it).

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    You suggest simmering in the oven. Why is this safer than simmering on stove top? In both cases, you are leaving an electric heater turned on unattended. – rumtscho Jun 18 '15 at 10:40
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    An oven's coils are self-contained when the oven door is closed (and some models can be locked). A stove top's coils are not. Even when a pot is on top the coils are exposed from the side and bottom angles. The pot can be knocked over and the coils are then exposed (and now possibly covered in oily broth which may catch fire easily). Also, if you google "slow roasting" you will find many, many articles on reputable sites about slow roasting a turkey overnight on a very low temperature. The NFPA says in my link above that stove top fires are more common for the reasons I stated. – Tarak'ha Jun 20 '15 at 12:32
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    An oven is a thermostat-controlled device which will only ever heat even a dry pot to not much higher a temperature (could be somewhat higher in a still oven due to radiant heating) than what the thermostat says. A stovetop tends to be power-controlled, if the thermal load changes (pot boiling dry) temperature will drift out of control. – rackandboneman Oct 27 '16 at 12:51
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I would never, ever trust an electric stove. I put a side of corned beef in a large stock pot to cook it slow and then went to bed. When I woke the next morning I was chocking on smoke. The house was so thick with smoke I could't see two feet in front of me. After getting my daughters out of the house I took a deep breath and ran in to turn off the stove. The electric coil was glowing red hot as though I had the dial set to high. I will never, ever trust an electric stove again.

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    I don't see how a gas stove would have done any better, if you don't set it correctly. – Robert Aug 20 '17 at 22:23
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In the opposite direction from "scary stove fire stories" - If your electric stove is sufficiently "modern" it may turn off after a few hours, leaving you with un-refrigerated un-heated bacterial growth medium.

My new stove happily decided to pull this trick while I was in the kitchen and able to turn it back on in a few minutes (I was simmering fruit butter for canning, if memory serves.)

In the fire story direction, the previous stove blew an oven element, resulting in an arc, but not tripping the breaker (it's a big breaker, the arc was not so big, but still alarming.) Evidently this sort of end happens with surface elements as well from time to time, complete with blowing holes in pans.

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I've done this on my electric stove overnight before. My stove burners run cold, and I woke up every two hours to check the broth. A slow cooker produces less broth, but can be left and forgotten about safely.

protected by Community Dec 17 '18 at 12:44

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