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.
- 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
- 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.
- Place your butter in a medium saucepan. (the one I used last night was smaller and a littler harder to work with)
- 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.
- Your 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)
- 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.
- The milk foam/solids will be left behind in the cheesecloth and all you’ll have is the golden ghee in the bowl.
- 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.
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.