Ghee… Huh, wait, what?

Ghee

Ghee

Ghee [gee] – noun – a kind of liquid butter, used especially in the cooking of India, utilizing butter made from the milk of cows then clarified by boiling.

Ghee, funny name, oh believe me I know.  It’s pronounced with a “g” like gorgeous and that’s exactly what it is.  I originally learned about ghee while following a lightweight backpacking online group.  It’s utilized by backpackers because it is shelf-stable (no refrigeration needed) and so much more flavorful than oil for cooking.  All I knew at this point was that it was Indian butter.

My friend’s son is autistic and was put on “the diet” (gluten, casein, soy & corn free  – with great results I might add).  We were busy looking for new and creative recipes for the family so he wasn’t singled out when I once again saw ghee references. I started looking at you tube videos and recipes online.  Now I’m a very confident cook and always ready to try new things but this was different, Tyler could have ghee but not butter so if I made a mistake I could cause problems for him.  I finally worked up the nerve to make a batch with the help of my former boss, a wonderful woman and dear friend from India who walked me through the process better than a you tube video ever could (thanks again Paulomi!).  Once made, we passed it around and tasted it in absolute awe.  It’s like butter, but so so much better.  Unlike anything we’d ever tasted before.

EatingWell

How do you make ghee?

Truly, you boil the butter.  That’s it. Then you strain it.  (Seems too simple, I don’t get it..)

First you start by putting butter in a good solid bottomed pan.  My daughter gave me an enamel coated Lodge cast iron Dutch oven for Christmas several years ago which is now known as my ghee pot.

Next, the butter.  Well, here’s where it doesn’t matter too much because you’re removing the dairy, as well as the salt.  I am in an area where I can pick up Amish butter at a great price.  If you’re looking for grass-fed only, look for Kerry Gold.  To my knowledge it’s the only grass-fed that’s commercially available.  However, I have stocked up on butter at the grocery when it went on sale and made ghee with it and not noticed a difference in the end result.

When the butter starts to melt it will go from its normal pale yellowish white to a bright yellow and creamy.  Once it comes to a simmer/gentle boil, leave it.  Come back every once in a while (20 minutes or so) and stir it.  I use a plastic pancake turner with a straight edge because it allows me to scrape the bottom to keep the solids from sticking.  I have a wooden paddle but I noticed that it tends to absorb the salt as well as the oils.  You’ll find some people will refer to ghee as clarified butter but that is incorrect.  Clarified butter (or drawn butter) is made at this first stage when the butter first separates but is still that bright yellow.  (Think of what they serve at Red Lobster with your crab legs). As it continues to boil it will become more and more clear and more of an amber color and all the butter.  The batch I have in the picture was boiled for approximately 2 hours.

Time to strain.  I have wire strainer that I set over the bowl from my Kitchen-Aid mixer (in the picture).  I then took my cheesecloth and folded it in quarters and put it in the strainer.  I poured the finished ghee through the cheesecloth to strain out the carbonized dairy solids.  Once it all strained, I then picked up the cheesecloth by the corners (making a pouch) and kept twisting it tight to squeeze out any ghee that was left.  Believe me when I say this step is worth it.  Between the solids and the cheesecloth you should be able to squeeze out several ounces.  As you can see by the picture, there are a lot of dairy solids that come out.  This also contains the casein which is an allergen for some folks, as well as one of the offending items for autistic kids.

Here’s what’s removed from the butter when you turn it into ghee. The dairy is completely carbonized. I strained it through cheesecloth then squeezed out the excess.ghee 2I started with 6 pounds of butter (on sale $2 a pound). The finished result netted me 1 quart jar and 7 eight ounce jars. This lasted us for about 12 weeks.  Put the lids on and put it in the cabinet.  Treat it as you would any other oil.  Just so you’re aware, if your home is cool this may start to solidify and that’s okay, you haven’t done anything wrong making it.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

Okay, I made it.  Now what do I do with it?

The question now is what can’t you do with it?  It can be used in any recipe for oil or butter.  Here’s the best part IMO.  Ever get a pan too hot when you’re going to cook something with butter and it burns?  Not with ghee.  All the parts that would burn, you’ve already removed.  You can pan fry your eggs or fish, brush it on bread for a grilled cheese or as toast, drizzle it on broccoli or popcorn… you name it!.  My favorite is to sauté garlic in ghee for a few minutes.  It’ll taste like you roasted it in the oven for an hour!  Put that in some mashed potatoes or cauliflower and you will think you’re in heaven.

There’s benefits too?

Ghee has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine and diet.  It’s believed to lubricate joints, help with mental function (not unlike newly discovered properties of coconut oil), stimulate digestion and even aid in the absorption of herbs and spices from dishes for medicinal benefit.

Try it out and tell me what you think.  I guarantee you’re going to keep it in the house all the time and convert your friends.  Be sure to share this with them too!

Maggie 

 

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7 thoughts on “Ghee… Huh, wait, what?”

  1. Hi Maggie,

    I came across your comment on NomNomPaleo’s post about ghee. I checked out your site and I love your directions! Very much like how I make it.

    I have a question for you. I have always refrigerated my ghee, but I am seriously tired of chipping away at it when I want to use some. So I made a small batch last night and decided to put it in the cabinet. This morning, the ghee looks like it has little solid bits in it – mostly at the bottom, but also lining the sides of the jar.

    Is this just the way it solidifies gradually when kept in the cabinet? Did I just not get all the milk solids out?

    Thanks so much!

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    1. Thanks so much for your feedback! Ghee isn’t always liquid, it depends on the temperature just like coconut oil. Ghee is completely shelf stable because the dairy solids are gone which is why it’s very popular with backpackers and rural communities without refrigeration. Enjoy!

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  2. Hi Maggie,
    I have arrived here from Nom Nom Paleo as did Amy 12 months ago. Can’t wait to make my own Ghee. I can almost taste it 🙂 Thank you very much for your clear directions. As it is about 33 Celsius here today and we have mild winters too, I am not expecting my Ghee to set as it will live in the pantry. (I just hope nobody catches me sipping it off a spoon!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever tasted. If you put some in a fry pan with some fresh garlic and let it simmer for a few minutes it will smell and taste like you roasted it in the oven only without the work. Put it with some cooked cauliflower and coconut milk in your food processor.. simply amazing. I had people raving about my mashed potatoes and got to watch their faces as I told them they just ate cauliflower. LOL Enjoy and be sure to come back and let me know how you like it!

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  3. Hi again Maggie! I have just made my Ghee. Before I decided to follow your instructions, I had looked at several others and they just seemed really finicky with all the skimming etc. as there seems to be a waste factor involved. Well, I am feeling like A) I have died and gone to heaven and B) I am the cleverest person ever. LOL. I took the precaution of buying some pretty ordinary unsalted butter in case I totally flubbed it and I might have been a bit of a helicopter parent whilst making it . . BUT . . . it is wonderful. It is a little darker than your batch but not burned and my remnants look the same as yours – I squeezed my cloth and was amazed at the amount that came out. I am so glad you included that final step. My next batch will definitely be with the best butter I can buy and I imagine I will love it even more. I do have one question . . . do you have any idea if cultured butter can be used? I love it so. Thank you so very much for helping me make this wonderful ambrosia :-))

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