You’ll notice I talk about ghee a lot. I LOVE the stuff. Not sure what it is? Ghee, in the most simple description, is 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 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 (for about 99% of them), making it a great healthy alternative for those with dietary restrictions. Three, it’s delicious.
That’s just three reasons of many… read more below to see why I’m obsessed with ghee and how you can make it at home!
* 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 smoke point is between 400˚- 500˚F).
* Ghee tastes incredibly delicious. It’s like butter on steroids… butter, but even creamier and nuttier!
* Ghee can be used as a spread, as a cooking oil, for baking, for frying, and for nearly any other cooking purpose. Who doesn’t love versatility in the kitchen!?
This information is a summary of ghee’s many possible benefits… always consult your physician before trying to treat ailments. Just sayin’. 😉
* Ghee has been used in Ayurvedic practices for centuries to help with digestion and heal the gut. It’s thought to improve absorption and assimilation of herbs and vitamins, as well as stimulate the break down of food in the stomach, aiding in overall healthier digestion.
* It is believed by many to promote learning and increase memory retention… not a bad bonus!
* It is often used to help with ulcers, constipation, and the promotion of healthy eyes and skin.
* It can aid 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, which can strengthen 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 (with very rare exception 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.
* Ghee is thought to be good for the brain and nervous system… it can help control eye pressure and has shown to be beneficial for glaucoma patients.
The information above was derived from a collection of sources including The Ayurvedic Institute and The Times of India. There is plenty more out there about the goodness of ghee… I’ll stop here. 😉
A note about clarified butter vs ghee:
* Contrary to popular belief, there is a difference between ghee and clarified butter, even if slight! In short, ghee is a type of clarified butter. Clarified butter is done once the water is evaporated and the fat is separated from the milk solids. The production of ghee involves simmering the butter longer so that the milk solids caramelize, which makes it nuttier tasting and darker in color. Basically, ghee is cooked longer.
* It’s easy to make at home!
You can find ghee in many grocery stores, but it costs more than making it at home. The process is easy- all you need is butter, 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
Using grass-fed butter is recommended (like Kerrygold),
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, forming a white foamy layer over the top
Continue to simmer approx 10-15 minutes…
during this time, you’ll see varying stages of foaming as the water burns off
After about 10 minutes, you’ll notice the foam will begin to clump
By this time, the liquid underneath the foam should be a caramel color- you may also
notice some browned milk solids settling at the bottom
(Ghee can vary in color- some say this is directly correlated to the seasons- when cows
are feeding- and of course the amount of time it’s cooked)
Using a spoon, gently scrape and discard the foam off the top…
don’t worry about getting every last bit since you’ll be straining it shortly too
Let it sit there 1 or 2 more minutes to catch any last bits of
foaming that may occur, and to deepen the color, if you’d like
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 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 and 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, it’s good refrigerated for up to a month, most would say even longer
Mine never lasts that long 😉
(Unopened ghee will last much longer!)
Enjoy as a buttery spread, to bake with, to sauté, or in any other fashion you may want!