We sometimes hear it called “clarified butter“, but that’s not really what it is. In India, it is known as ghee and the ancient Ayurvedic texts have lots of good things to say about it.
Ghee has a delightful flavor and is better for you than it’s dairy based cousin, butter. Slowly melting butter over a very low heat source causes a separation in the butter that is three-fold. Once the water layer and the milk solids are removed, what is left is a deep golden butterfat, high in linolenic acid. Ghee is super dense in antioxidants and, since the dairy factor has been removed, no refrigeration is required.
Ghee is very easy for the body to assimilate and digest. Ghee is also an alkaline which is helpful in correcting the body’s acidic environment created by many of our regular dietary factors. Creating an alkaline environment is believed to be beneficial to the body since cells like cancer cannot replicate in an alkaline environment. Furthermore, since ghee tastes like butter, but has no milk solids or lactose, those who are dairy-sensitive can still enjoy this great flavor as an accent to their diets.
Other health benefits of including ghee in your diet are:
- Supports healthy nerve and brain function
- Supports recovery from depression and anxiety
- Very good for pregnant women and the developing baby’s nervous system and brain
- Ayurvedic practitioners believe it to be beneficial to those challenged by glaucoma and recommends a drop of lukewarm melted ghee for each eye before sleeping
- Ghee helps the body to absorb other vitamins and minerals, thus assists in the support of the immune system
- Ghee is basically the oil that helps the body function more smoothly, plus it tastes good!
Ghee is very dense in flavor and saturated fat molecules. It also has a very high smoking point so it won’t burn or brown up the way regular butter will. You will only need to use a bit of ghee to access it’s amazing flavor.
Most folks who are challenged by dairy allergy or intolerance have issues with the milk proteins and other elements of the dairy product itself; not necessarily the fat in the product. Ghee has none of the elements that cause dairy reaction and is safe for those who are intolerant of dairy to enjoy. Since ghee is known to assist with digestion issues, it can often ease the damage done to the digestive tract by food allergies, sensitivities or gluten damage.
You can buy organic ghee and incorporated into your diet very easily. Furthermore, ghee can be made in your own home for considerably less than purchasing it at your local whole foods market.
Making ghee and clarified butter are just about the same process, although you would keep your ghee on the heat a bit longer since you will want to make sure that all of the water, excess moisture and milk solids have been eliminated.
You will want to make your ghee out of the highest quality butter you can find. Butter made from the milk of grass-fed cows is best, but organic will do. Whatever you do, don’t use cheap butter!
Using a stainless steel pot, place your butter in it and put it on over medium-low heat. Set a timer for thirty minutes; it’s going to take right around that amount of time to complete this process. Do not turn up the heat, thinking that melting the butter quicker is better – it’s not.
When the butter has melted completely, three distinct layers will have formed; foam on the top, butterfat in the middle and the milk solids will have sunk to the bottom. As soon as the butter starts to sputter, turn the heat to low. You don’t want burned ghee!
On low heat, your butter will pick up a nice, slow boil. The foam won’t entirely go away, but it will lessen somewhat. Remove the foam with a spoon. It will keep forming, but that’s OK. It will eventually stop. Once the butter stops foaming, you’ve removed all of the other liquids from the butter. You’ll see the browned milk solids on the bottom of the pan.
Now you have ghee. Take the ghee off of the heat and get ready to strain it. You’ll want a smaller mesh strainer, lined with cheesecloth. Set that over a glass container and slowly pour the ghee through.
Your ghee should look like a clear golden pond of butterfat, begging for veggies to dip. It’s lovely in sauces that would have required lots of regular butter. Béchamel or any sauce requiring a roux are both particularly nice when started with ghee. Ghee is also very nice in or on biscuits or any other baked good where you want a decadent butter flavor.