Ghee is the pure butterfat left over after the milk solids and water are removed from butter. It’s used widely in Indian cooking, and the word ghee is the Hindi word for fat. It is made by melting butter, cooking off the water and separating the clear, golden butter fat from the milk solids. Ghee has a high smoking point so it can be used in high-heat cooking, much better than butter. It also has a longer shelf life that butter and, when stored in an airtight container, can be kept at room temperature almost indefinitely.
Ghee lacks hydrogenated oils and is a popular choice for health-conscious cooks as well. Additionally, since all the milk proteins have been removed during the clarifying process, ghee gains further nutritional value because it’s lactose free, making it a safer alternative for those who are lactose intolerant. It is said to have nutritional value, helping in digestion. In addition, it is rich with antioxidants and acts as an aid in the absorption of vitamins and minerals from other foods, serving to strengthen the immune system.
Now that you know all the wonderful stuff about ghee let me tell you how I was introduced to it. Enter my first husband belly rubbing of 2013…
I return home day to find mason jars full of a yellow, buttery substance. I asked my dear husband what said substance was his response was, “ghee”. Ghee? Ghee What?
Husband: “It’s ultra clarified butter, dear.”
Me: “Well, golly ghee, deary, I have no idea what it is but I’ll take your word for it and go with your crazy new find.”
Another educational mission for me. I did research and, low and behold, found a lot of information on ghee. I do not think it is widely known so, in a baby step to spread the word, our Christmas gifts to our neighbors not only included homemade jam and truffles, but a pint jar of ghee.
Ghee is very simple to make. All you need is a 1 lb stick of butter (organic or not as you desire… or twenty 1 lb chunks if you’re husband!). Next, follow these steps:
- Using a medium saucepan, heat butter on medium heat.
- Allow butter to melt and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. You will notice that the oil will separate itself. The top will begin to froth; remove froth.
- Allow the oil to become clear where you can see the milk solids in the bottom of the pot. Once they start to brown you are close to being done. Once the ghee is clear and and stops “crackling” you are done. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- Strain ghee through 3-5 layers of cheese cloth (my husband used a colander to hold the cheese cloth) into a separate pot then pour the finished product in to canning jars while hot (ensure you wipe the top of the glass where it seals).
- Once they are full cap your jars with you canning lid and tighten down your rings until they are snug. As the ghee cools the air in the jar will cool as well and create a vacuum seal.
- Then you can just throw it in your pantry or basement for a long, long time. However, once opened it lasts for about 6 months in the refrigerator.
Ghee Whiz! That was easy! Now enjoy!