If you miss the delectable, comforting buttery flavor and aroma of butter because you've given up dairy due to lactose intolerance or allergies, or maybe to be more heart-health conscious, or to control your weight, learning how to make ghee at home will turn your world around!
Ghee is so delicious! And, as you'll see, it has many positive health benefits, aside from its yumminess factor, that can make enjoying butter again a totally guilt-free experience!
Plus, it's so easy to make! (And much cheaper than if you buy it at the store!)
So read on, and soon you'll be enjoying it as much as we do!
What is Ghee?
In case you haven't heard of it, ghee is a form of clarified butter, just a little bit more brown. It is a staple in traditional Indian cooking and Ayurvedic medicine, and it can keep without refrigeration for a while!
Basically, all the dairy proteins (casein and whey) and milk solids (including lactose) are removed by cooking it at low heat, and what you're left with is pure butter fat that is not only delicious, it has many healthful aspects that can benefit your gut, your cardiovascular system and your mind and spirit.
Yikes! Eat pure fat, you might be thinking?
Many people are fat-phobic these days because of the bad rap fats have received in recent years. Yet, a growing body of research shows that the low-fat diet trend was actually misguided. The new study concluded that consuming butter is not linked to a higher risk of heart disease, and it might even be slightly protective against type 2 diabetes.
Other research has revealed that instead of increasing risk of heart disease, ghee - specifically - actually decreases it and is beneficial in many other ways, so keep reading.
So, if you've been missing butter, you can now enjoy ghee, which has so many benefits - MINUS the harmful dairy proteins and lactose!
It all began on a cold and rainy night. We were craving the one thing that would make Netflix movie night perfect: popcorn with lots of butter drizzled on top.
Yet, we hadn't had butter in ages!
Then, I remembered my good ol´ pal from the past, Ghee! And, that's when everything changed...
I gave up dairy a few years ago because I discovered that a protein called casein, found in milk, is problematic in many ways (just Google it and you'll see) and specifically it is considered to be a carcinogen.
Having made many adjustments to my diet to heal and recover from cancer in 2014 (hard to believe it's been that long!) dairy was one of the first things I let go of. And, by default, butter. (Don't get me started about cheese! THAT, I still miss!)
But, I've done a lot of research, as I tend to do (one of my top results in a vocational aptitude test in high school was: private detective) and I discovered that, in moderation, we can use ghee in so many ways, and it's actually good for our mind, body and spirit.
I first learned about ghee and its many benefits when I explored Ayurvedic cooking many years ago. Yet, oddly enough, after the cancer saga, I forgot all about it. Until recently.
Ghee's health benefits.
In Ayurveda, a 5000-year-old system of natural healing from India, ghee is considered an essential superfood with dozens of health benefits.
Here are just a few:
It promotes a healthy digestive tract: Ghee is rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid that nourishes and repairs intestinal cells. If you're dealing with any digestive issues, healing your gut lining is an important first step. And ghee can help you do that!
It decreases inflammation and reduces risk of cancer: Butyric acid supports the production of killer T-cells, which kill cancer cells, among other pathogens. So, now it's a delicious part of my cancer prevention plan! Ayurvedic practitioners also use ghee to help decrease inflammation.
It can help reduce risk of heart disease: Ghee is rich on conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid known to protect against carcinogens, artery plaque, and diabetes. Studies have shown that small amounts of ghee (up to 10 percent of total calories) can actually decrease total levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
It may be able to help you lose weight: Consuming CLA has also been shown to help prevent weight gain and aid in weight loss.
It helps cleanse negative emotional toxins and promotes positivity: In India ghee is a symbol of good fortune and is revered for its healing benefits and delicious flavor. It is said to promote positivity, growth, and expansion of consciousness.
See? Ghee isn't just a delicious comfort food. It's a healing, beautiful superfood!
How can you use it?
First, let me remind you that just because ghee has healing properties, it doesn't mean you should gobble it all up. So, use it, as with other oils, in moderation.
Because of its high smoke point (meaning it won't burn at high heat) it's great for sautéing and stir-fries.
Substitute ghee in any recipe that normally calls for butter.
Melt over steamed veggies.
Add a little over your hot oatmeal.
Boost flavor of brown rice and other cooked whole grains.
Drizzle over organic popcorn (this is what started it all!)
You can massage a bit of ghee into your skin instead of massage oil, especially over aching joints to reduce inflammation.
Moisturize your lips. (Nothing better than a buttery kiss!)
How to Make Ghee at Home
Okay, finally, here's the recipe! It's really easy, though it does require you to stay close to the stove to make sure the butter doesn't burn. It takes about 20 minutes.
1 pound organic, grass-fed, unsalted butter (please don't use conventional butter with hormones and antibiotics. All those toxins tend to remain in fat.)
Stainless steel pot with a heavy bottom
Fine mesh strainer and nut-milk bag (or cheesecloth)
2 smallish glass jars with tight-fitting lid
1. Place butter in the pot. Bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to low, or medium low, for a slow, steady simmer.
The butter will begin to produce foam on top. Like this:
I remove it with a spoon and toss it (not into the sink) because I like to see the color of the milk solids remaining at the bottom so they don't burn. And it speeds up the process. Some people leave the foam. Regardless, the foam eventually begins to be absorbed into the butter, as moisture is evaporated.
2. You'll notice the butter will boil rapidly, making great popping sounds, with bubbles on top, and it will suddenly begin to slow down.
NOTE: THIS PART IS CRUCIAL
Keep an eye on it and keep the flame on your stove on low. When the bubbling begins to speed up again, it's done! Turn off the stove. (Otherwise it will burn, and you'll need to start all over....)
3. The ghee is done when you see browned milk solids stuck at the bottom and the top portion of the ghee is clear.
4. Cool down slightly. Strain the ghee through the strainer and a piece of cheesecloth or nut milk bag to remove all the bits of burned, brown particles into a couple of jars.
Place one jar in the fridge and the other can remain on the kitchen counter, in a darkish area (make sure the sun doesn't reach it.)
Ghee can be stored at room temperature for about one month or in the refrigerator for up to three months. So, might as well make a couple batches from that one pound of buttah!
This is what it looks like when it has cooled completely.
I promise you, this is one easy recipe that is as delicious as it is healthful. Just consume it sparingly, ok?
Let us know in the comments below if you've ever tried ghee, if you've ever made it at home, or how excited you are about trying it!!
We LOVE when you talk to us through the comments below. Makes our day! And it gets us all to know one another.
Thanks for reading! Enjoy that popcorn!
Eli and Joseph