(Health Secrets) Ghee is butter made better. To make it, butter is clarified to a perfection that releases even more of its many health benefits. Ghee is considered medicinal in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, which predates Chinese medicine and is gaining popularity in the western modern world.
It’s expensive to buy ghee from a health food store, and you don’t have control over the quality of butter used to make it. So why not make your own and have more for less while using your choice of the best butter you can find? This article will explain how to make your own ghee after you have been motivated by ghee’s superfood properties and a little understanding of Ayurvedic medicine.
A little on Ayurveda
Ayurveda has its roots in ancient India. It uses the wisdom of food as the first medicine for preventing disease, and herbal remedies for curing any disease that occurs. Its theories and practice are creeping into the western world’s holistic circles. What is amazing about Ayurveda are the diagnostic techniques it uses for determining dietary advice and prescribing herbal remedies.
Ayurvedic practioners are masters of reading the characteristics of the pulse, a skill unknown to western doctors. From this reading, they are able to tell you of the ground work you are laying for future illness, often even before modern allopathic testing gets a hint. The simple foundation of Ayurveda undercuts the complexity of modern medicine. Its dietary advice and inexpensive herbs, prescribed without expensive testing and equipment, add up to low healthcare costs.
Ayruveda is the source of Chinese medicine’s diagnostic techniques which use pulse characteristics, tongue observations, and the gathering of information about a client’s habits and life style characteristics. Ayurveda’s basic premise is that there are three doshas. Each of the doshas is a mind-body characteristic. One’s general disposition, temperament, and physiology are determined by the doshas. Though all three of the doshas are present in all of us, usually one or two are dominant. And then there are dosha disorders in which one dosha is out of line with the others, and only its negative qualities are being exhibited.
A dosha analysis reveals what it will take to adjust one or two leading doshas, and any doshas that are out of balance. A specific dietary regimen is determined from the dosha analysis.
The diet balances the doshas by lessening food types that emphasize certain already strong doshas, and by increasing food types that augment weak doshas. The average SAD (standard American diet) person will usually have a very hard time adapting to the dietary shift prescribed, and it often takes gradual steps to bring this sort of person toward a prescribed Ayurvedic diet, unless he or she is already motivated by a dangerous health condition! A balanced dosha system creates enduring good health.
Ayurveda determines one’s dosha alignment and dominant dosha(s) by observation of the physical appearance and by a list of questions. You can do a short form dosha quiz online to get an idea of what a long form would be like in an Ayurvedic clinic.
More about ghee and how you can make it
Ghee is the premier cooking oil in Indian Cuisine. Because it is derived from butter, it has a much higher burning point than many cooking oils, 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 191 degrees Centigrade. Ghee has the healing benefits of butter without the impurities (saturated fat, milk solids). Lactose intolerant people can use it as a butter on toast and in cooking.
Modern western science has discovered that ghee has phenolic antioxidants that bolster the immune system. Traditionally, ghee has been used to enhance digestion, improve memory, promote intelligence, and lubricate connecting tissues. It is healthier than butter for everyday use, as it does not contain any dairy product cholesterols, and its caloric content is low as well.
According to Dr. Vasant Lad, who heads the Lad Ayurvedic Clinic in New Mexico and is an author and international lecturer, “Ghee relieves chronic fever, anemia and blood disorders and is useful for detoxification…it aids in the balancing of the tridosha (the three doshas). Ghee promotes the healing of wounds and alleviates peptic ulcer and colitis. It is good generally for the eyes, nose and skin.”
Making ghee at home
If you don’t have the time or inclination to make ghee, at least buy some and try it for cooking, buttering and improving your health.
If you decide to make it yourself to get the best quality, use the best butter you can buy. Butter from raw whole milk is ideal but difficult to find. At least, make sure you get a pound of real organic unsalted butter made from the milk of grass or alfalfa-fed free roaming cows.
Make sure you have unbleached cheesecloth on hand for filtering liquid, and make sure you have a clean, sterilized heat resistant lidded jar on hand for the finished hot ghee.
To get started, put your butter into a pan or pot over low heat. When the butter completely melts, continue heating until boiling occurs, then continue on low heat. There may be some spattering as the water in the butter boils off. Before 30 minutes elapse, you should be aware of three layers in the liquid.
- A top layer of foam, which is the water boil-off
- A middle layer of liquid
- And at the bottom, the milk solids
If you want clarified butter for shrimp, crab and lobster, here you are. But getting ghee requires a couple of additional steps.
Continue heating on low heat and stir occasionally while closely watching to prevent the clarified butter from burning. Keep one eye on the milk solids as you stir occasionally until the milk solids turn medium brown and the liquid becomes translucent and golden, emitting a fragrant nutty aroma.
Then remove the liquid from the heat, and let it sit for a short while to ensure all the milk solids drop to the bottom. While it’s sitting, go ahead and skim the foam or broth from the top of the liquid. A gravy or fat separator can make that easier. This is an important step, as you don’t want any water in the ghee. Water will spoil it.
Then get the cheesecloth layered over twice, or once inside of a fine mesh filter, and place that over the mouth of the selected jar. Pour carefully to prevent those milk solids from getting into the jar. Keep the jar lid off until the ghee cools to room temperature to prevent moisture from forming on the inside of the lip. Then put the lid on. You can refrigerate ghee to keep it solid, or put it right on a shelf. Ghee keeps for a year, even without refrigeration.
As you use ghee for cooking or buttering, make sure you do not allow any food particles or water to get into it. Either can contaminate and spoil ghee.
For a couple of introductory recipes using ghee, go here for sweet stewed apples:
And go here for a savory omelette:
For more information:
Ghee Explained http://www.yogajournal.com/health/56
Fran’s House of Ayurveda http://franlife.blogspot.com/2008/11/ghee-clarified_butter-ayurvedically.html