GHEE: The Good Fat

A LITTLE HISTORY

Ghee comes from a sanskrit word meaning "clarified butter." It had been used in Indian culture for over 5000 years. Ghee is made by simmering butter at a low temperature until the milk fat has separated. The impurities are skimmed off the top and the golden liquid is strained through cheese cloth and the residue on the bottom is discarded. Because the milk solids are removed, it can be left at room temperature and won't go rancid. 

Ghee may be the single most important ingredient in Indian cooking. It is a staple in their household and the beginning of all Indian dishes. Ghee is held with high regard as it is made with butter from cow milk. Cows are a sacred animal in India. The mother cow is revered as the physical manifestation of the Goddess as she nurtures and mothers all of us with her nectar. Because the milk solids have been removed, it withstands high heat without becoming caustic or burning. It it also used as a base in Ayurvedic remedies as many of the Ayurvedic adaptogens are fat soluble. This means that their effect and your ability to absorb their benefits in greatly increased when fat is the carrier. 

WHY GHEE?

Ghee is a wonderful source of fat for many reasons. As I mentioned before it is great for high heat cooking, but it is also super nourishing for the body. Some of the benefits of ghee includes, but are not limited to:

  • Free of lactose and casein (all my lactose intolerance friends and family, you can have ghee!)
  • High in fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E and K
  • High in Butyrate, a short chain fatty acid beneficial to gut health
  • Because it is a medium chain fatty acid, ghee helps support a healthy metabolism and supports weight loss( feeling full longer?)
  • Digestive Health
  • Anti-inflammatory

Any recipe that calls for oil or butter, ghee can replace. I use it to roast veggies, sauté, fry, bake. I drink 1 T of ghee in my latte every morning. It helps me to feel full as well as "gets things going."

WHY MAKE YOUR OWN

I've been eating ghee for as long as I can remember. Growing up we used it to make Kitcheree  (I will share my recipe soon, but in the meantime check out THIS one), spread on toast, add to popcorn and melted over steamed veggies. It wasn't something you found regularly on the grocery store shelves, so we made it ourselves. In the last 5 years, ghee has become more and more popular in the United States. There are a lot of wonderful ghee products out there, but I personally feel that many of them are overpriced for what you get. I find it to be quite important that my ghee is organic. Ghee made from conventional butter may have GMOs, pesticides and toxins. If you can find organic and grass-fed butter, that is even better. If you have to choose between organic and grass-fed, I would go with the organic. 

HOW TO

There are several ways to make ghee at home. I am going to share my favorite. It is easier then you can imagine, costs about $4.50 and once you start you will be wondering why you haven't been doing it all along. All you need is a pound of organic, unsalted butter.

 1. Place the butter in a saucepan and turn on to medium heat.

1. Place the butter in a saucepan and turn on to medium heat.

 2.  the butter is melted and start to bubble, turn to medium low heat and keep at a low simmer (this is where the water is evaporating and the milk fat is floats to the bottom)  3. As some of the milk fat floats to the top, I take a spoon and skim it off. I do this several times throughout the cooking process. DO NOT STIR or you will have to start all over. At this point you just let the butter do its things. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn.

2.  the butter is melted and start to bubble, turn to medium low heat and keep at a low simmer (this is where the water is evaporating and the milk fat is floats to the bottom)

3. As some of the milk fat floats to the top, I take a spoon and skim it off. I do this several times throughout the cooking process. DO NOT STIR or you will have to start all over. At this point you just let the butter do its things. Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't burn.

 4. When you've skimmed all the foam off the top, the rest has floated to the bottom and you have a golden liquid (you want to be able to see the residue through the ghee at the bottom of the pan), turn the heat off. 

4. When you've skimmed all the foam off the top, the rest has floated to the bottom and you have a golden liquid (you want to be able to see the residue through the ghee at the bottom of the pan), turn the heat off. 

 4. Using several layers of cheese cloth or a paper towel, strain the ghee into a jar. This can take some time. If you notice that some milk fat makes it into the jar, do another strain. If any remains, your ghee will go rancid. 

4. Using several layers of cheese cloth or a paper towel, strain the ghee into a jar. This can take some time. If you notice that some milk fat makes it into the jar, do another strain. If any remains, your ghee will go rancid. 

 5. Place a lid on your jar and keep on your counter top. 

5. Place a lid on your jar and keep on your counter top. 

IF YOU DON'T WANT TO MAKE YOUR OWN

90% of the time I make my own ghee, but there are those weeks when I just don't have time or I wanted to get some fun flavors to add to my dishes. When those times arise, I reach for Ahara Rasa Ghee. This ghee is truly the best I've had (besides homemade). Hot Date is one of my favorite flavors. I love throwing it into my morning adaptogenic lattes, spreading it on toast or chopping the dates up and tossing them with quinoa and roasted veggies. It adds a delicious sweetness and amazing flavor. I have also caramelized bananas in it for making a vegan banana cream pie. My other favorite flavor is the Bulb & Rind which is an amazing addition to any savory dish. It's the perfect friend to any veggies dish and I always have it in my home. This ghee is made locally in Portland and is grass fed and organic. Ran by two amazing people who care about the energy that goes into our foods and the importance of healthy fats in your diet.