Ghee, or clarified butter –is the essential oil of butter that has been separated from the lactose and other milk solids found in butter. The word ghee is pronounced with a hard G as in “game”. When gently heated, the milk solids coagulate, toast, and sink or stick to the pan during cooking. Water also evaporates during the process, making it resistant to spoilage.
- Ghee is a fat and therefore bonds with lipid-soluble nutrients in foods and spices, helping to make nutrients A, E, D, and K penetrate the lipid-based cell walls of the body more efficiently.
- Ghee does not need refrigeration. Fats in general help to preserve foods, retaining much of the original freshness and potency of herbs and foods.
- In Ayurvedic texts Ghee is said to help increase “agni” or (digestive fire). It helps repair and maintain the mucus lining of the stomach as well as to balance excess stomach acid. This is excellent for heart-burn suffers and chronic constipation.
Your Body Needs Fat
Fat is essential for health. A diet deficient in the right kind of fat can accelerate the aging of brain cells, the skin, and nerves. Cell regeneration can be compromised without enough good fat. Fat soluble nutrients require fat in order to be absorbed in the body. The right kind of fat is also a crucial component needed for building cell membranes, hormone balance, and proper bile production.
Great for Cooking
Ghee has an excellent aroma and is so flavorful that you can use half or two-thirds as much as other cooking oils. It has a very high smoke point, meaning it is a better alternative to extra virgin olive oil for cooking at high heat levels. It also is known to enhance the flavors of a wide variety of spices. You can use ghee to sauté foods, in woks, baking, or grilling. Ghee is lactose and salt free.
How to Make Ghee
Start by always choosing organic, unsalted butter. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once melted, begin watching carefully, swirling the pan gently back and forth to make visible any milk solids that take shape. Milk solids should begin to appear within 3-4 minutes. Reduce heat during this time if butter begins to boil, or pop too much. Getting the pan too hot can easily result in burned ghee.
Once milk solids begin to appear and turn a golden color (not brown or black), quickly remove from heat and strain through a funnel or coffee cup lined with a paper towel. Ghee should be a clear golden color, not brown. Store at room temperature.
Video Note: Unlike what is visible in this video, milk solids in ghee should be golden brown.