What is Ghee
Ghee is clarified butter and what you are left with when all the milk solids and water are removed through melting and straining and evaporation.
Predominantly used in South Asian and Middle East cooking, Ghee was, and in many places still is, the primary fat used in cooking and in lamp burning. And because the milk solids and moisture is removed, it can last up to 3 months covered and without refrigeration.
In fact, keeping it out of the refrigerator helps it last longer because the condensation that can accumulate with taking it out of the refrigerator to use and the putting it back in can reduce it’s shelf life.
Because of the way it’s made, Ghee has a slightly nutty roasted flavor that is subtle but adds to the flavor of food beautifully. It has a high smoke point (250 °C or 482 °F) which makes it ideal for sautéing, frying and broiling.
You can buy it at many Middle Eastern, Indian and gourmet markets, but you can also make your own, which I’ll go into below.
Benefits Of Using Ghee
As an alternative to oil or other fats, Ghee comes with a lovely list of benefits. See below:
- Ghee has high smoke point as mentioned above. This means you can cook and fry with ghee and it won’t break down into free radicals like many other oils.
- If left covered on the counter, it has a long shelf life. Refrigerating it, adds condensation and this spoils it faster. In truth, however, it usually doesn’t last very long on the counter either as you’ll end up using it for everything.
- Rich in Vitamins A & E
- Rich in K2 and CLA (Conjugated Linoleum Acid), both antioxidants with anti viral properties
- Rich i medium chain fatty acids which are absorbed directly by the liver and burned as energy. You can use ghee as a consistent energy source if you’re an athlete or training.
- Super high in Butyric acid which is great for the digestive tract and the immune system as well as serving as an anti inflammatory
Different Ways To Use Ghee
- Use in place of regular butter for sautéing; it doesn’t smoke or burn as easily.
- Use in dairy-free recipes; milk solids are removed from ghee during the clarification process.
- Use in place of vegetable oil for basting, sautéing, and broiling.
- Use in place of butter for drizzling over veggies, toast, pancakes, waffles, grain dishes, fish, poultry, and meats.
How To Make Ghee
As with anything you cook, you want to start with the freshest and cleanest ingredients. Organic grass fed and pastured cow butter is the best bet. You can find this at your health food stores. It’s a bit pricier, but worth it.
You will also want to have a glass container to store your ghee in. I like to buy the hermetic jars you can often find in grocery stores, or on Amazon. They’re easy, inexpensive and great for storing all sorts of things in your kitchen.
What you’ll need:
- 16 oz (1lb) of unsalted organic butter
- a medium sauce pan
- cheese cloth
- fine grade strainer
- glass jar with tight lid for storing
- Place butter in sauce pan over medium low heat. You want to gently melt the butter. Do not stir. Just allow it to melt on it’s own. At no point should it boil or worse, burn.
- Once butter is melted it will have divided into three parts: the foam at the top, the clarified butter in the center and the milk solids at the bottom. Carefully, move the foam over with a spoon to take a peek at the milk solids below.
- You want to keep it at a soft simmer until the milk solids below begin to change color. Once this happens, turn off the heat, and skim off all of the foam from the top using a spoon or label.
- Once the foam is all gone, let the remaining two layers sit for a couple of minutes to settle down.
- Then placing your cheesecloth inside the strainer, pour the clarified butter into your clean jar through the strainer. You want to leave the milk solids behind.
- Let the Ghee cool in the jar, cover it with the jar lid and you can leave it on your counter by your stove for up to 3 months.