How to Make Ghee at Home
We all know the warnings of butter and why we shouldn't use it. It is fattening, and not entirely all that healthy. But what is the alternative? Well, the latest in clarified butter may be the answer. Ghee is a form of clarified butter that has begun sweeping the nation of hipsters and health conscious persons. Mostly because it is a healthier form of butter than you can make from butter and make in your own home. And when it comes between choosing to leave the house or make it at home, most people will choose to avoid human interaction. So is it easy to learn how to make ghee and is it really that much better for you? The answer is yes.
What Is Ghee?
Ghee is the latest in butter alternatives, however it really isn't all that new. It originated in India and is a variation of clarified butter. Clarified butter is basically just unsalted butter that has been heated, causing the milk to separate from the butter. That milk is then skimmed off the top, leaving just the golden liquid. The reason people are using clarified butter is because it has a higher smoke point, which makes it ideal for cooking, and it also does not spoil as quickly as regular butter may. However, it does not have the same rich taste as normal butter, which again makes it great for cooking.
Ghee however, takes the clarified butter process one step further. Instead of skimming the solid milk from the top, the ghee is left to simmer until all of the moisture evaporates and the milk solids turn a brownish color. Ghee has a more distinct taste and aroma than clarified butter and stronger than regular butter. It also has a far longer shelf life and higher smoke point (375 degrees) than regular butter, which makes it perfect for sauteing and searing. It can be refrigerated for 6 months or even frozen for a year without any issues.
How to Make Ghee
Learning how to make ghee is surprisingly simple. Not to mention you can use just about any stick of butter to do it. Butter itself is made from at least 80% milk fat, 1% milk solids, and 16-18% water. So to successfully make ghee, you will have to start with a simmer.
Chop up a stick of butter and add it to a heavy bottomed pan. The reasoning for this is because you do not want the milk solids to burn quickly. Simmering the butter allows the water to evaporate, leaving only the milk fat and solids. Start off with medium heat to melt the butter, then reduce it to a medium low for the simmer.
Once the butter has totally melted, it will begin to bubble and the solids will separate from the liquid. Here, you will need to use a spoon to skim the solids from the surface of the liquid. This part takes a bit of time because the butter will continuously be separating the milk solids, so be patient and remove all of the solids floating on the top. Once everything is skimmed, you have successfully made clarified butter, but the process continues to make Ghee.
Now that you have removed the majority of the solids from the top, some of them will have sunk to the bottom. Do not try to get them out as you will need them right where they are for the ghee. Continue to simmer the butter over a medium low heat. Keep a close eye on the liquid, as it will quickly begin to turn to a golden color with the solids becoming amber brown at the bottom of the pan. Once you start to see this change and smell slight toffee flavors, you'll need to turn off the heat.
You will need to allow the ghee to cool a bit for about 3-5 minutes. Take a fine mesh strainer, with a few layers of cheesecloth, paper towel, or a coffee filter, and place it over a heat proof container, like a pyrex bowl. Pour the ghee from the pan, into the strainer, so the brown solids are again separated from the liquid.
And there you go. You have successfully made ghee in your home from a stick of butter, pan, strainer and a pyrex bowl. See, it really is simple to learn how to make ghee.
How to use Ghee
Ghee is perfect for many types of cooking, thanks to its high smoke point of 375 degrees. It is most commonly used in the making of many Indian dishes. Ghee can be thought of as a more durable, more flavorful butter alternative. It can even be used as a spread for toast or used when cooking vegetables. The more traditional ghee is typically flavored by adding ginger, peppercorns, cumin, or other spices before clarifying the butter. However, unflavored ghee has a very nutty flavor to it already and can be used in just about any recipe.
Better Than Butter?
Knowing the benefits of ghee and why people have been choosing it over butter, is just as important as learning how to make ghee in the first place. But because I am sure that you do not want a long explanation, you just want the facts, I'll give them straight out for you.
- Higher smoke point- the biggest difference between butter and ghee is the smoke point. Butter smokes rather low, while ghee can withstand much more heat, making it much better for all sorts of cooking.
- Rich in vitamins- By replacing butter with ghee, you can increase the amount of vitamins you take in. The fat soluble vitamins that are contained in ghee include vitamin A, D, and E, which are all highly beneficial to your body.
- Great for sensitive people- I do not mean emotionally sensitive people, I am talking people who are intolerant or sensitive to casein and lactose. This is because the majority of the elements that cause issues for those people are already skimmed and strained from the ghee.
- CLA- While conjugated linoleic acid is higher in grass fed beef, it is also present in ghee. CLA can reduce tumors, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and actually lower body fat.
- Butyrate- Also known as butyric acid, this short-chain fatty acid acts as a detoxifier, improving colon health. It has also been shown to support healthy insulin levels, is an anti-inflammatory, and may be helpful to people suffering from IBS, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. Also can help in digestion.
- Butterier- Ghee actually tastes more like butter than butter does. It turns out that getting rid of the water and milk solids actually intensifies the flavor. This means that you will be able to use less to get the same, or better, taste.
- Builds strong bones- Thanks to another one of their fat soluble vitamins, K2, ghee can help the body to utilize minerals including calcium.
Learning how to make ghee is a great new skill to take in. Not only are you able to surprise your friends when you make food for them, you also will not have to spend any extra money in doing so. Ghee has a lot of great benefits that make it the obvious choice for those who are trying to get away from butter and find a better and healthier alternative. While those steps are rather simple, they are generally what you need to do to make ghee. If you have enjoyed learning how to make ghee and want to learn more about how to stay happy, healthy, and green, you can check out the rest that Green and Growing has to offer.