If you have recently made chicken and you’re in waste-not mode, you may be looking at the bones and wondering whether it is possible to eat them. After all, they are an animal product, and they are not toxic.
We often feed them to pets (although not from cooked chicken), but are they safe to eat ourselves?
Can you eat chicken bones? You can eat cooked chicken bones, as long as you are careful not to cut your mouth or swallow large or very sharp pieces. Cooked chicken bones tend to turn brittle, making it possible to chew them up, but slightly increasing the risk of cutting yourself or consuming a sharp bit of bone.
Are Chicken Bones Dangerous to Eat?
No, chicken bones are safe to eat as long as you are reasonably cautious about it. If you are planning to eat chicken bones, you should be aware that they do pose a choking hazard, and swallowing large, sharp pieces could cause internal damage. However, chicken bones are not usually unsafe, and many adults enjoy eating them.
When you cook chicken bones, you will find that instead of being tough, they become brittle and slightly crispy, especially if you roast the chicken. This is particularly true of bones that are slightly exposed from the meat during the cooking process.
These bones can be chewed at slowly to break them down, and it is fine to swallow the pieces. Some people really enjoy the flavor, and find that most of the taste of the chicken is in the bones.
Bones are often left in to improve the juiciness of the meat, but if you would rather not waste them, feel free to eat them or some of them. If you don’t want to, discard them as normal. Do not give cooked bones to a dog or other pet, as there is a risk that they will splinter and cut the animal’s mouth.
As long as you eat the bones carefully, you shouldn’t run into this issue.
Are Chicken Bones Healthy?
Bones contain a few healthy minerals, including amino acids, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, etc. The marrow inside bones is very nutrient dense and is full of fats, so it’s a nutritious part of the chicken to eat.
Bones also contain collagen, and this is thought to improve the health of your guts and therefore your overall health. Many places have begun retailing collagen powders to supplement a healthy diet, but you can get everything you need just by eating some chicken bones when you roast a chicken.
Do Chicken Bones Taste Good?
You may have noticed that the inside of the meat has a lot more flavor than the outside, and that’s because it tends to concentrate around the bones. Bones release flavors into the meat, but they hold on to some of this flavoring, and therefore eating them can be a good idea.
Whether you like the flavor of chicken bones will depend on your personal preferences. Some people find that the bones are bland or have an unpleasant texture, but others really enjoy them. Try chewing on a bone the next time you eat chicken, and see if you like the flavor.
There is an added benefit in that you won’t have to spend too much time picking at the bones, tugging the meat off them, and trying to eat around them. You can just enjoy your whole meal, bones and all.
What Else Can You Do with Chicken Bones?
If you don’t enjoy eating chicken bones but you don’t want to waste them, you might want to try turning them into broth. Using chicken bones as stock can make a really rich chicken soup (or other soup with chicken flavoring). The nutrients from the bones will be distributed into the soup liquid, meaning you will still benefit from these.
If you find the texture of chicken bones off-putting or you are worried about cutting your mouth, you might find that this is a great way to make the most of them. Using them for stock can help a whole chicken to stretch further, giving you more meals from it, and reducing your waste.
After boiling the bones into stock, you will need to throw them away, but you will have extracted most of the nutritional value from them first.
For people looking to “go green,” this is one way to cut your carbon footprint if you aren’t quite ready for vegetarianism or veganism. If you are going to eat meat, using up the whole of the animal reduces the overall impact and prevents waste.
What Should You Do If You Cut Yourself on a Chicken Bone?
If a bone splinters in your mouth and cuts your gums, you should first remove the bone and put it down. Next, assess the damage. A small scratch will heal by itself, but if the cut is bad, you may wish to go to the ER.
Bones turn brittle when cooked and they can splinter, which may cut your mouth or throat. Try to avoid swallowing large chunks of bone at any time, as these are more likely to be sharp or get lodged somewhere. You don’t want to swallow a piece of bone that is longer than about three inches, because this may get stuck in your digestive system.
If you have any concerns about eating the chicken bones or you have injured yourself, get checked by medical professionals. Although your body may manage to process the bone effectively, you don’t want to risk it causing any problems.
Similarly, if you get a piece of bone stuck in your throat, you may need to visit the ER to have it removed.
Although many people throw away chicken bones, they are perfectly edible, and a lot of people also enjoy these crispy treats inside the chicken. As long as you chew on the bones carefully, you should keep the risk of splinters or sharp slivers to a minimum. You may just find that the bones are the best bit of the meal!