Sorry, I couldn’t help the corny title. I’m a corny girl, living in a corny world.
If you’re a vegan, you’ll want to skip this post – it’s not for you. Why? Because…BUTTER! Well, were actually talking about ghee – but ghee is made from butter, and butter is from an animal, so…
Read on to discover what makes ghee a healthier cooking/baking substitute for butter and oils, why it’s good for your health, and when/where it originated.
WHAT IS GHEE?
Ghee is a clarified butter that is stable at room temperature with many health benefits. The lactose and casein are removed during the simmering process and what remains is a healthy, delicious oil with a nutty, buttery flavor.
Ghee has been used for thousands of years, but the first known use was 2000 B.C. It originated in India, but more recently, it is being used all over the world for its health benefits. Back in the early days, it may have been used for trade, and so it had to be stable to carry on long trips. This is another reason ghee is popular today. You can leave a jar of ghee on your counter for 3 months, whereas butter will go rancid much earlier than that.
- High smoke point (485 degrees) (whereas, butter is 350 degrees).
- Long shelf-life.
- Great go-to for baking, sautéing and roasting.
- Contains fat-soluble vitamins (A, E and K).
- No lactose or casein! Great for lactose intolerant peeps.
- Contains conjugated linoleic acid.
- Lots of butyric acid. Great for gut health & healthy insulin levels; fights inflammation.
- Strong, nutty-like buttery flavor (you can use less when cooking).
- Great for weight loss.
- Helps digestion.
- Helps inflammation.
- Great for burns & rashes
- Great for moisturizing the skin and scalp.
- Great for keto diets, lactose diets, Whole30 and other weight loss diets.
Just as with any saturated fats, don’t go crazy and put it on everything. Use it sparingly as you would with butter or other oils.
WHERE DO I GET GHEE?
You will find jars of ghee at most grocery stores, especially health food or ethnic grocers.
I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a cheap-o or non-organic brand, if you’d rather purchase than make your own. I tried a cheap one many years ago and had to toss it – disgusting flavor. While I’m sure the organic ghee brands at the health food store are acceptable, why not make your own? Homemade is always better, right? It’s fresher, longer-lasting and you can be proud that you made something healthy.
While I wouldn’t recommend slathering ghee all over your morning toast (strong flavor), I do recommend adding some along with your cooking oil (preferably avocado or extra virgin olive oil) when sautéing veggies to add some depth to the flavor.
I also recommend using a little ghee in your baked goods in place of a portion of the butter required. I wouldn’t recommend replacing the entire amount of oil or butter in a baking recipe with ghee. The nutty butter flavor might overpower the intended flavor of your baked goods.
And now, if you’re up for it, make your own delicious ghee at home with the simple recipe below. I didn’t invent this recipe – it’s actually all over the Internet. I just provided some of my own tips and added some visuals.
There really isn’t any magic or skill in making ghee, except for the type of butter you use. It’s verrrrry important that you don’t substitute the grass-fed, organic, unsalted butter for anything of lesser quality.
HOMEMADE GHEE RECIPE
You will need:
16 oz (4 sticks) grass-fed, organic, unsalted butter (do NOT substitute)
16 oz glass mason jar
Clean cheesecloth (about 3 or 4 layers)
Saucepan/pot (preferably stainless steel)
A discard bowl (glass or stainless steel) or a mesh skimmer
Shove a few layers of cheesecloth into the mouth of a clean mason jar (with a bit hanging over the outside) and put it aside. You don’t need as much cheesecloth hanging over the sides as my photo below – I grabbed too much.
Melt all butter in a heavy saucepan/pot on medium-low. As it’s melting, stir occasionally and keep at a simmer. It can take up to 20 minutes until the milk proteins have separated from the oil. You’ll know this has happened when you see white foam on the top and some bits of milk fats on the bottom of the pan.
With either a mesh skimmer or a large spoon, gently skim the foam off the top and toss into a glass or steel discard bowl. (When you’re done for the day, let this discarded foam/butter harden, and then wipe it all out into a trash can with some paper towels. DO NOT run it down your garbage disposal. Oils will harden and clog your drain!)
There may be a few more stages where it foams up again and again. Just keep skimming and discarding until there is no more foam. The milk fats on the bottom of the pan will continue to brown (not burn!). If it’s burning, you have the heat too high and it’s ruined. Browning of the milk fats creates that special, nutty flavor.
Once the oil is clear (no more foam), turn off the heat and allow to cool.
Carefully pour the oil through the cheesecloth into the mason jar (hold the cheesecloth down on the outside so that it doesn’t fall inside). Toss the cheesecloth.
Cool completely before sealing with a lid or putting in the fridge.
Once completely cool, tighten a lid on it and date the outside. Your ghee should last up to 3 months on the counter at room temperature, or up to 1 year in the fridge.
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