You’ll notice I talk about ghee a lot. I LOVE the stuff. Not sure what it is? Ghee, in the most simple description, a class of clarified butter. It has for years been a staple in Southern Asian cuisine, as well as been used as a health remedy in many ancient cultures. Recently though, it’s become popular in Western culture, too… you can even find it in many grocery stores now! What’s with the obsession? There are many reasons people love this stuff. For one, it’s a deliciously healthy fat, making it a great choice for cooking, baking, and anything else that you’d normally use butter or oil for. Second, it’s safe for people who are lactose sensitive, making it a great healthy alternative for those with dietary restrictions! That’s just two of many… read more below to see why I’m obsessed with ghee and how you can make it at home!
Ghee has a plethora of benefits, for both in and out of the kitchen…
* Ghee is tough to burn. While butter and most oils burn easily at high heats (butter’s smoke point is 325˚-375˚F), ghee will stay nice and buttery, allowing you to make what you want without annoying burnt interferences (ghee’s smokepoint is between 400˚-500˚F).
* Ghee tastes incredibly wonderfully delicious… and that’s an understatement.
* Ghee can be used as a topping/spread, as a cooking oil, for baking, for frying, and for nearly any other cooking purpose.
* Ayurvedic medicine has long used ghee to help with digestion and to heal the gut. It helps improve absorption and assimilation.
* It is also believed to promote learning and increase memory retention.
* It is often used in Indian medicinal practices to help with ulcers, constipation, and the promotion of healthy eyes and skin.
* It aids in the treatment of burns, rashes, and other skin conditions.
* Ghee is rich in antioxidants and acts as an aid in the absorption of vitamins and minerals from food, strengthening the immune system.
* It contains anti-viral properties that are believed to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors.
* Ghee is tolerable by people who are sensitive to lactose/dairy (with very rare exceptions by individuals who are extremely sensitive).
* Ghee is said to stimulate the secretion of stomach acids to help with digestion, whereas other fats tend to slow down the digestion process and feel heavy in the stomach.
* Studies have shown ghee to reduce cholesterol both in the serum and intestine by triggering an increased secretion of biliary lips (please note: it is said to reduce cholesterol for healthy people; however those with an already high cholesterol should be cautious.)
* Ghee is said to be good for the brain and nerves… it can help control eye pressure and is found to be beneficial to glaucoma patients.
This information was derived from a collection of sources including The Ayurvedic Institute and The Times of India.
A note about clarified butter vs ghee:
* While it’s minimal, there is a difference between ghee and clarified butter… the process of creating traditional clarified butter is complete once the water is evaporated and the fat (clarified butter) is separated from the milk solids. The production of ghee involves simmering the butter along with the milk solids so that they caramelize which makes it nutty-tasting and aromatic.
* It’s easy to make at home!
You can find ghee in many grocery stores (nearly all health food stores sell it and now even Trader Joes has it, too), but it costs more than making it at home. The process is easy- all you need is butter (I prefer unsalted, grass-fed if possible), a pan, a spoon, a mini strainer or cheesecloth, and a little jar or container. Here’s how…
To make ghee…
16 tbsp, or 4 sticks, will make about 24 ounces ghee- use less for smaller portions
Using grass-fed ghee is recommended (Kerrygold makes it),
though any high quality unsalted butter will work
In a large pot, heat the butter over low-medium heat
Without stirring, let the butter cook down and melt slowly…
it will start to bubble- that’s the water cooking off
As it continues to cook, a white foamy layer will develop
That’s the milk solids (whey)… we’re going to let those rise and then discard them
Continue to let it simmer… it should take about 10-15 minutes more for it all to separate
When the milk solids begin to turn a golden caramel-brown color, it’s ready
(these pics don’t show it as colored as it should be ideally)
Using a spoon, carefully scrape off the top layer of foam
Discard the foam… that’s not the stuff you want
Get as much of it out as you can with the spoon…
it doesn’t have to be perfect since it will get strained, too
Next, using a fine sieve or layered cheesecloth (coffee filters work, too though strain very slowly),
strain any remaining foamy particles until you have a clear foam-free liquid
Pour the liquid into a mason jar- using a funnel helps keep the process clean
That’s it! Place the lid on it and refrigerate…
It will harden as it cools, and then will soften again at room-temp.
To store ghee, keep unopened jars in a cool dark area away from light…
once opened, you can refrigerate it for up to year at least!