Ghee is butter made better. To make it, butter is clarified to 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?
What is Ghee?
Ghee is a type of clarified butter which means the butter has been cooked and strained to remove water and milk solids. But it takes it a step further. With ghee, after the butter has been clarified, you heat it on a slow simmer until the milk solids carmelize.
Ghee is known for being the premier cooking oil in Indian Cuisine. Though it’s 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) so that lactose-intolerant people can use it as a butter alternative on toast and in cooking.
Ghee vs. Butter: What it tastes like
Ghee is delicious. It still has a butter-like taste, but features a rich nutty flavor, which creates a sweet aroma and adds a unique taste to dishes. Many people describe it as a cleaner, richer, more decadent version of butter.
How to Cook with Ghee
Ghee is best used when cooking at high temperatures, like when frying or sautéing foods. The reason behind that is that it has a higher smoke point. Butter can smoke and burn at 350°F (177°C), but ghee can withstand heat up to 485°F (252°C). There are several other ways to use it when cooking or using ghee as a butter alternative, however, This includes:
- pouring melted ghee over popcorn
- drizzling it over fresh steamed vegetables or corn on the cob
- spreading it over crackers or toast (allow ghee to harden at room temperature first)
- using it to prevent sticking in cooking pans
- drizzling it over vegetables before roasting for a caramelized texture
- using it instead of butter for mashed potatoes and baked potatoes
The Many Health Benefits of Ghee
Modern western science has discovered that ghee has phenolic antioxidants that bolster the immune system. Traditionally, it 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.
Ghee is also rich in fat, but the healthy! It contains high concentrations of monounsaturated Omega-3s. These essential fatty acids are key components to a balanced diet and support a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Studies show that using it can even help reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels.
Other reasons ghee is good for your diet include it being:
- An important source of fat-soluble vitamins. Ghee is a rich source of important fat-soluble vitamins like vitamins A, E, K2, and D. These vitamins can help your body improve eye health, immune health, and more.
- A good source of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). This acid is known for its ability to reduce tumors in the body, lower the amount of blood cholesterol, and improve or stabilize blood pressure numbers.
- A powerful antioxidant. Being an excellent source of Vitamin E, studies have shown that antioxidants like this can help reduce the risk of cancer, arthritis, and cataracts. Vitamin E can also help reduce the risk of heart disease.
How to Make Ghee at Home (a step-by-step recipe)
If you don’t have the time to make your ghee, at least buy some and try it for cooking, buttering, and improving your health. If you do 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. We recommend using 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.
- 1 lb of unsalted, high-quality organic butter
- Fine Mesh Strainer
- Jar to store
- Place high-quality butter into a pan or pot and melt over low heat.
- When the butter completely melts, continue heating until boiling occurs. (Note: There may be some spattering as the water in the butter boils off. )
- Reduce heat to low.
- Within 30 minutes, you should see three layers in the liquid 1) a top layer of foam, which is the water boil-off, 2) a middle layer of liquid, 3) and at the bottom, the milk solids.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take the cheesecloth and layer it over twice. Place the cheeseclose inside a fine mesh filter and place that over the mouth of the jar you’re wanting to store the ghee in.
- Carefully pour the clarified butter into the mesh filter and let cool to room temperature. You’ll want to keep the jar lid off the ghee until it is cool to prevent moisture from forming on the inside of the lip.
- Put the lid on. You can refrigerate ghee to keep it solid, or put it right on a shelf. Ghee will 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.
What more tips on enhancing your nutrition with health swaps like this?
Talk with your local AlignLife Chiropractor about functional nutrition testing and tips for giving your body the food and nutrition it needs today.