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Ghee! What?!

It’s ghee! Have you never heard of it?  It’s the ancient healing fat of India and today I’m teaching you how to make it.

The benefits of ghee are well known in Ayurveda as ghee is used as a healing salve in wide variety of ways: as an eye wash for pink eye, etc; as an ear lubricant in the winter to prevent ear infections; as a detoxifying oil in spa treatments; and obviously as an essential part of a diet for health and healing. It is also used in many herbal preparations in Ayurveda, as the fat helps to deliver the beneficial properties of the herb.

Ghee 1In Ayurveda, it is believed that ghee has these benefits:

  • Lubricates the joints and connective tissue thereby helping flexibility
  • Reduces general inflammation in the body
  • Improves memory and mental clarity
  • Increases semen count
  • Improves digestion

So what is ghee?  It is clarified butter, where all of the milk solids and much of the moisture are removed.  What is left is the pure fat.

You may be wondering why that would be any better than butter or even good for you at all?  For starters, having no milk solids, it is totally safe for people with dairy sensitivities (the lactose and casein are gone).  It is also a very stable fat which does not oxidize quickly so it is a FAR healthier oil to cook with than vegetable oils which are likely rancid (oxidized) in your pantry already and rancid fats are THE MOST toxic. Finally, it has a higher smoke point than regular butter and higher than some oils, so it’s a great fat to cook with!

If you’re still in the “fat is bad… ESPECIALLY butter” camp, then you’ll want to read some of my older blog posts where I go into greater lengths to clarify the misconceptions about fat.

So back to ghee (clarified butter).  You can find ghee in the health food store, but it’s also very easy to make.  All you need is:

  • 1-2 lbs butter (preferably unsalted)
  • A pot, a glass bowl and a strainer
  • Cheesecloth so that you can line the strainer with 3-4 layers of it

Directions:Ghee 2

  1. Start off with the best quality butter you can find. You see here that I’m using grass fed organic butter. This means it’s not from cows fed corn, soy or any other feed. They’re eating their natural diet of grasses. It’s also not important whether your butter is salted or unsalted. The salt is removed with the milk solids.
  2. Place your butter in a medium saucepan. (the one I used last night was smaller and a littler harder to work with)
  3. Put the butter over medium head until it starts boiling. Then reduce to medium-low heat and allow it to boil for a few minutes as the milk solids rise to the top and some sink to the bottom and start browning.  About 7-8 minutes.
  4. Ghee 3Your ghee is done when the butter is a clear golden  yellow and you can clearly see the bottom of the pan (here’s where a medium saucepan is helpful.  My small pan made it hard to move all of the foam)
  5. You can skim some of the foam off the top and discard it.  Then pour the ghee through a strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth. Also get the best quality cheesecloth you can find.  The one I have is unbleached so it’s a natural color rather than stark white.
  6. The milk foam/solids will be left behind in the cheesecloth and all you’ll have is the golden ghee in the bowl.
  7. Transfer to a mason jar and store at room temperature.  As it cools, your ghee will become semi-solid (very much like butter at room temperature.) The cooler it is, the firmer it will get.  Ghee keeps at room temperature for a REALLY long time without going rancid.

What do you think?  Are you up for giving it a shot?

In the pictures below you see the foam of the milk solids forming on the top.  Then when you can start to see clear liquid through to the bottom of the pan, your ghee is nearly ready. Pouring it through cheesecloth.

Ghee 4Ghee 5Ghee 6

Here you can see the golden ghee and the milk solids left in the cheesecloth. The pure golden ghee and finally the solidified ghee in a mason jar.

Ghee 7Ghee 8Ghee 10

 

 

 

 

8 Responses to “Ghee! What?!”

  1. Perfect. Clear explanation. Love the visuals. Definitely going to try making and incorporating ghee into my diet and health care.

  2. Elisa says:

    Do you know how much ghee one gets from each pound of butter? How much of the pound of butter is mild solids vs fat?

    • HI Elisa, sorry I missed this question when you sent it. It’s hard to say because I’ve never weighed it or measured it. You don’t lose a whole lot, so you get maybe 80% of the volume you put in, maybe a little less. What you lose is some water to evaporation and you lose the dairy solids, which is not a whole lot, maybe 3-4 tablespoons per lb. I’m just guessing…

  3. Jill Willett says:

    Hi, I make, use and like ghee. I’ve never read of all the uses and or properties
    of. I get ghee by melting butter and skimming the fat off the top. Refrigerate. I only
    use it to cook, because it’s most nearly fat free. I say this, because you might ask about putting in your eye etc.

    • HI Jill, it’s great that you use it for cooking as it’s a really good cooking fat. Now, I’ll point out that it’s not “nearly fat free” but totally the opposite. It’s all fat. What you do by clarifying the butter is removing the milk solids from the fat and therefore are left with the pure fat that does not burn as easily. It’s a very healthy fat to cook with and fortunately the decades of misinformation about fat is winding down, so we now are better aware of the fact that we absolutely need healthy fats to be healthy.

      As for eye washes with ghee, it’s not something new. It has been done in India for thousands of years and though it’s an odd sensation and leaves your eyes feeling oily, the oiliness dissipates after a few minutes and it can be surprisingly effective for minor eye irritations. I’ve only done it once, but I wanted to mention it in the blog just to illustrate one of the many surprising uses that ghee is given around the world.

  4. Jill Willett says:

    I’m for refrigeration. It will last a lot longer. J. Willett

    • It will certainly last longer when refrigerated. I guess it’s just a matter of how quickly you consume it. If you fully discard all of the milk solids, you’ll have a fat that lasts in your pantry longer than you might imagine. 🙂