Ghee is a traditional fat used in Indian cooking. You may have seen it in glass jars at your local health food store. It is essentially clarified butter, which may make you wonder why people go through the trouble of making ghee when regular butter is so yummy!
But there are several reasons to use this fat for cooking, so let me show you the possibilities. Then, we can make some ghee and get cooking!Ghee is something that I was aware of, but didn’t understand the importance of until I did the GAPS dietlast year. After all, regular grass-fed butter is cheaper (at least in my area) and I like butter on almost anything. I did not understand the point of ghee when it was so easy to grab butter at the store or whip up some raw butter at home.
Why Should I Make Ghee?
First: Ghee is very useful for those who cannot digest the milk proteins in dairy products, even grass-fed, raw butter. Some people have a compromised gut that cannot handle even small amounts of milk proteins or lactose. So instead of butter, they use ghee and are usually able to at least digest it more easily, if not without any problems at all!
You will find that the GAPS diet calls for ghee during the introduction diet phase, and it is for this reason. Any extra help you can give to your gut during the healing of the GAPS diet
Second: Another excellent use for ghee is in high temperature cooking. Milk solids can burn when you try to use regular butter for frying or roasting. Ghee takes care of that problem in spades!
I used to fry potatoes in olive oil, until I read that I was scorching the olive oil and it was detrimental to my health. Olive oil is made for salad dressings and other cold dishes, or for drizzling over warm foods. It is not meant for high heat. Now I can use ghee and get that buttery taste without the fear of burning or oxidized fats.
Third: If you are going to have seafood, particularly lobster or shrimp, please use ghee! It is so delicious, and so nourishing. You will love to see the deep golden color of the ghee and know that it is chock full of vitamin k2.
Plus, you’ll be eating it with seafood which is generally rich in vitamin D. Remember that vitamin k2 is the “activator” that works synergistically with vitamin A and D to give us strong bones, teeth, and good health.
Note: Do not use raw butter to make ghee. I mean, you can, but if I have raw butter I try to eat it raw to get the added benefits of the raw aspect of the butter. For making ghee I use store-bought or pasteurized butter, or butter that I make at home with store-bought or pasteurized cream. Remember vitamin k2 isn’t affected by heating, so your ghee will still be very good for you!
- French/dutch oven or baking dish
- ladle, wide mouth canning funnel, quart canning jar, and storage lid
- cheesecloth and glass bowl (optional)
How to Make Ghee
1 pound of butter (buy grass-fed butter here, see how to make butter here)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place the pound of butter into the French oven or baking dish.
- Bake for an hour, or until the foamy layer of the butter that has risen to the top starts to brown. Baked butter at this point is separated into three layers: a watery and foamy layer on top, butter oil (ghee) in the middle, and milk solids on the bottom. When it looks like this, remove from the oven.
- Then, skim off the foamy, watery browned layer floating on top of the ghee. Discard.
- To separate the ghee from the milk solids at the bottom, either gently pour or ladle the ghee into a canning jar, or pour all the remaining butter through several layers of cheesecloth set over a glass bowl. I find that the milk solids stick pretty well to the bottom and I can get away with just pouring the ghee straight into the canning jar.
- If you do use the cheesecloth, pour the ghee into the canning jar. Let cool and then transfer to the refrigerator to solidify. You can use the separated milk solids for vegetables or toast, or you can simply discard.
- The jar of ghee will keep at room temperature for several weeks, in the refrigerator for 6 months, or the freezer for 1 year.