Ghee is quite simply clarified butter. Originating in South Asia, it has been a staple of Indian and Pakistani cooking for thousands of years. Clarified means that the milk solids have been removed, so it’s less likely to cause intolerance and is an essential part of high fat diets like Keto.
As a result, this super fat has become a popular option in American homes and is a fantastic alternative to butter. Why? Because it has a much higher smoke point, making it less likely to burn, and has a great taste that’s rich in flavor and slightly nutty. Ghee (pronounced GEE) is not only fun to say, it also has a number of benefits that can improve your health and digestion. Keep reading to find out how you can make your own ghee at home and incorporate it into your life to improve your well-being.
Oh.Em.GHEE…Is it Really a Better Butter?
With the popularity of high fat and low carb diets, people are constantly searching for good fats that the body can break down and use as energy. When butter is simmered and made into ghee, the milk solids and water are separated from the butterfat… leaving you with glorious ghee. The better way to butter!
As mentioned, ghee is made when the milk solids are separated from the fat. Therefore, ghee has very little to none of the lactose found in traditional butter. Making it potentially easier on those with allergies, sensitivities and intolerance to certain dairy products.
Important Note: Despite the lack of milk solids, ghee is not considered a Vegan option. Why? Because butter, the base for ghee, is still derived from cream which is an obvious animal product.
Higher Fat Content
Yes, that does mean that ghee has slightly more fat and calories than butter. But, just slightly. More important, however, it lacks harmful trans fat which is still found in brother butter. Plus, it just tastes better. Ghee for the win.
Great for Cooking
Ghee is like butter 2.0 for the senses. The extra simmering time browns or carmelizes the milk solids and gives the finished product a bonus taste explosion that’s both nutty and sweet. Kind of like butterscotch. It smells fantastic and adds an extra level of flavor.
Another thing that makes ghee ideal for cooking is that it has a higher burning (smoke) point than many other fats making it a more versatile option. While butter will start to smoke at 350 degrees, ghee won’t smoke until approximately 475 degrees. So, if you’re looking to put an extra crisp on the outside of grilled cheese, try ghee. Or better yet, throw it in some scrambled eggs.
Because it’s shelf stable on its own, ghee doesn’t need any additional preservatives or chemicals to keep it fresh.
Use it for sautéing, frying, searing, roasting and general cooking. Due to the specifics of baking, however, you may want to stick with butter. Feel free to experiment.
Bonus: You don’t have to go to the store to purchase ghee unless you want to. It’s incredibly easy to make at home!
How to Make Ghee
Ghee is made on the stove by heating butter slow and low; that is the tempo! It’s the slow cooking that makes all the difference, and really allows the flavors to develop.
Butter has higher water content, so when ghee is made, much of the water is removed through evaporation. As the butter is slowly melting, its flavors are emerging. The result is a nutty flavored solid fat, with a hint of sweetness, and creamy texture that’s sure to please.
Easy to Remember: Butter is made up of fat, milk solids and water. Ghee is just the butterfat.
Making Your Own Ghee Step-by-Step
What You’ll Need:
- One stick of butter
- Saucepan or Dutch oven
- Spoon or Strainer
- Mesh strainer
- Glass bowl
- Clean glass jar with a lid
How It’s Done
- Preheat a Saucepan or Dutch oven on the stove. Something with a heavy bottom will work best. Start with medium heat.
- Add the butter. To ensure that the butter melts evenly and to get a more consistent flavor, cut the butter into equal-sized pieces before you drop it in.
- When the butter has completely melted, turn the heat down to low and let the butter simmer. When it starts to bubble, you’ll notice little white, solid clumps that will rise to the top of the yellowish liquid.
- Use a spoon or small strainer to carefully skim the liquid, removing the solids as they rise to the top. This will take a few minutes, so don’t leave your ghee-in-process unattended.
- When you’ve rounded up all of the solids from the top and discarded them, you’ll be left with a bright yellow liquid. This is clarified butter. But you’re not done yet, right now, it tastes like plain ol’ butter.
- As the butter bubbles and simmers and starts to smell amazing, you’ll begin to notice little tiny solids at the bottom of the pan start to brown. The appearance of the yellow liquid will start to turn more of a golden color… this means it’s almost time to take the pot of the stove.
- The very second you smell a hint of sweetness, almost a toffee-like aroma, remove the pot from the heat. It’s so important you do this part right away, or else you’ll get a burnt flavor to your ghee, and that is simply no fun for anyone.
- Let the liquid cool for about three minutes. Line the mesh strainer with cheesecloth (preferred), paper towels or a coffee filter and set it inside the glass bowl. Slowly pour the liquid from the pan over the cheesecloth.
- As the liquid drips down into the bowl, the cheesecloth will catch the brown solids that remained in the pan. Once all of the liquid has run through, you’ve got the gold!
- You can store the ghee in a glass jar with a lid for up to three months at room temperature. Or, you can keep it in your fridge for up to a year.
Why We Believe in Ghee
If you’re not convinced yet that ghee is the real deal, hope is not lost. Continue reading below for additional information that might just make you a believer. If we can’t get you over the fence, do us a favor and please try it once. We dare you! Once you go ghee . . .
History of Ghee
Ghee has not only been a key ingredient in Indian cooking, but it also plays a very important role in the Hindu religion. According to Hindu mythology, Lord of the Creatures, Prajapati, made his first offspring by creating ghee and putting it into a fire. Pouring ghee into fire is still, to this day, an important part of Hindu celebrations.
One of the world’s oldest systems of medicine, the practice of Ayurveda, also uses ghee as a common healing element. Ayurvedic medicine features ghee as a digestive aid and fever reducing agent.
Health Benefits of Ghee
Although ghee, as we know it, is mainly used for cooking and eating, the fact that it’s been used for thousands of years opens up a whole new level of discussion. During that time, many other beneficial uses have been found, tested, implemented and practiced as well. Health benefits you say? Read on and discover.
Vitamins and Minerals
Ghee is full of important vitamins (including A, D, E, and K), numerous minerals, anti-oxidants and a full spectrum of essential fatty acids.
Also said to increase longevity, balance the body and improve the mind. You be the judge.
If you’re experiencing extra dryness in your skin or scalp, you can try applying some ghee to the area affected. Ghee can combat dryness and even improve the texture of hair and skin.
Believe it or not, the healing powers of ghee can help reduce inflammation, aid in digestion and maintain a healthy immune system. For individuals looking to improve gut health, ghee can be a useful tool.
Is Ghee a Superfood? We say Yes!
– Have Fun In The Kitchen