The new recipe that I prepared for this week’s blog called for ghee – what the hell is ghee you ask (I asked the same thing)! Ghee, or clarified butter, is made when the milk solids are separated from the liquid, leaving a pure, clear, amber-colored substance. It has been used for about 2,000 years in Ayurveda or the ancient natural healing system of India. So yes, ghee is very high in fat about 14 grams of fat per tablespoon, but no artificial additives, preservatives, or trans fats. Now don’t think you should avoid ghee – there are many health benefits to using ghee, but if you have high cholesterol or heart disease, yes – you should avoid using ghee.
Since you remove all the milk proteins during the clarifying process, ghee is lactose free, so a safer alternative for those that are lactose intolerant. Ghee has a very rich flavor and therefore you use it very sparingly, which makes it more suitable for low fat diets. You would use 1 tablespoon of ghee in comparison to 4 tablespoons of butter or cooking oil.
So what are the benefits? I was fascinated with what I found out – I think you will be too! So now I have 4 fats to cook with ghee, coconut oil, olive oil and butter – all offer a unique flavor – fabulous! Ghee is :
- Known for stimulating the secretion of stomach acids to help with digestion, while other fats, such as butter and oil, slow down the digestive process;
- Known in Indian medicinal practice to help with ulcers, constipation and the promotion of healthy eyes and skin;
- Used in Indian beauty creams to help soften the skin and as a tropical treatment for burns and blisters;
- Rich with antioxidants and aids in the absorption of vitamins and minerals from other foods, feeding all layers of body tissue and serves in strengthening the immune system;
- Has a high concentration of butyric acid, a fatty acid that contains anti-viral properties, which is believed to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors;
- Contains conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) which aids weight-loss, especially stubborn belly fat, and
- Is very alkaline for your body, which helps offset the overwhelming acidity of a traditional American diet.
Ghee is low in essential omega 3 fatty acids, which is good for brain health, make sure you get your omega 3’s from another source.
Ghee will not go rancid at room temperature and will keep fits freshness and flavor for up to a year without refrigeration.
How to Make Ghee
1 pound of unsalted, organic butter
Heavy bottom, stainless steel sauce pot
Strainer, line with cheese cloth, coffee filter or gauze
Air-tight container for storage
1. Place the sticks of butter in the saucepan and melt it slowly, about 10 minutes if straight from the fridge or 5 minutes if room temperature.
2. Get your container, strainer and cheese cloth/gauze ready on the counter.
3. Once it has melted it will started to boil, turn the heat down to very low and simmer form 30 – 40 minutes – DO NOT STIR!
4. You will have to carefully skim the foam off several times during the cooking process. You will also hear it crackle as it is cooking.
5. After about 30 minutes the crackling with get less and you will start to see the milk solids on the bottom of the pan.
Here is a little snippet of how it is done.