It is simple to make ghee once you learn how. It takes 30-45 minutes of monitoring the stove with your attention. And it is much cheaper to make your own ghee than it is to buy pre-made ghee.
Ayurveda places ghee, or clarified butter, at the top of the oily foods list, as it has the healing benefits of butter without the impurities (saturated fat, milk solids).
Ghee is made by heating butter until it clarifies into its separate components: lactose (sugar), milk protein, and fat. Over a low flame, the moisture is removed, and the sugar and protein separate into curds that sink to the bottom and are later discarded.
The Health Benefits of Ghee
The Sushruta Samhita, an Ayurvedic classic, says ghee is beneficial for the whole body, and recommends it as the ultimate remedy for problems stemming from high pitta dosha, such as inflammation.
Long a favorite of yoga practitioners, ghee lubricates the connective tissues and promotes flexibility. Traditionally, the preparation has been used to promote memory, intelligence, quantity and quality of semen, and to enhance digestion. Modern science tells us that ghee also harbors phenolic antioxidants, which bolster the immune system.
Ghee assist with digestion by allowing food to be broken down more efficiently, by stimulating digestive enzymes and is indicated in weight-loss. Is ghee a healthy fat?
Though ghee is rich in fat, it contains high concentrations of monounsaturated Omega-3s. These healthful fatty acids support a healthy heart and cardiovascular system. Studies show that using ghee as a part of a balanced diet can help reduce unhealthy cholesterol levels. Ghee is rich in saturated fatty acids, which can handle high temperatures without becoming damaged.
Heating ghee also appears to produce much less of the toxic compound acrylamide than heating vegetable and seed oils. In fact, one study found that soybean oil produced more than 10 times as much acrylamide as ghee when each was heated to 320°F (160°C) (4Trusted Source). Its smoke point is 485°F (250°C), which is substantially higher than butter’s smoke point of 350°F (175°C). Therefore, when cooking at very high temperatures, ghee has a distinct advantage over butter.
Thanks to its impressive nutrient profile, ghee has been associated with several health benefits. Here are a few:
Boosts vitamin A intake. Ghee can help ramp up your intake of vitamin A, a fat-soluble vitamin that’s important for maintaining eye health, skin health and immune function.
Ghee is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may help decrease inflammation and protect against heart disease.
According to Ayurveda, ghee enhances ojas, or “life energy.”
For centuries, ghee has been considered a rasayana, which means a strength-building food that balances both body and mind.
Ghee’s benefits extend to topical use as it contains known vitamin E and beta carotene, which are known antioxidants.
Potential adverse effects People’s responses to saturated fat intake are highly variable. Those whose LDL (bad) cholesterol levels tend to increase in response to high saturated fat intake may want to limit their ghee or butter intake to 1–2 tablespoons per day.
How to make Ghee
Place the butter in a 3-4 quart heavy pot; turn the burner to the lowest possible setting. Stir occasionally as the butter melts and starts to bubble. Notice how the three components fo butter begin to separate: water will be on the bottom, butterfat will take up most of the pot, and milk fat solids will mostly rise to the top. As the temperature rises to 200 degrees F, the separation will become more and more distinct; the water will bubble up, maybe with a few eruptions. Many cooks skim the foam on top to speed up their ghee making- that’s not the traditional way; it’s best to let the foam disappear naturally.
Stir the pot occasionally in order to avoid sediment burning and to help the water evaporate.
When the solids have more or less settled to the bottom (as opposed to floating around), stop stirring from the bottom up. Let the milk fat solids rest at the bottom. Because the water is reduced ,the temperature rises faster and the butterfat begins to lose its cloudiness; the large bubbles you saw earlier have turned into thin foam.
The ghee is ready when the butter oil is clear, amber in color, and the solids you see on the bottom of the pan are consistent golden brown. You should be able to clearly see the bottom of the pan. Light tan or blackish solids are not good signs. If the solids are mostly tan, keep the ghee in the refrigerator between uses. If the solids have become black, you’ve scorched the ghee and all its healing properties-remorsefully, you will have to discard it.
Strain the milk solids from the ghee.
Fold a cheese cloth into 8 layers, or 2 laters if you’re using a flour sack towel, and place it in a strainer atop a mixing bowl. From now on, all utensils the ghee comes in contact with must be completely dry, as moisture will spoil the ghee. Carefully pour or ladle the hot ghee through the cheesecloth. You want to do this quickly. If the temperature drops below 200 degrees F, the fatty nutrients so important to the ghee begin to crystalize. Discard the strained solids. To clean and reuse the cheesecloth, soak it in boiling hot water with soap; hand-wash while the soapy water is still warm. Let the ghee cool for a few minutes, allowing for any air molecules to dissipate. Pour the ghee into glass jars. Put the lids on only when the jars have cooled to room temperature in order to avoid condensation falling in the ghee. Transfer the closed jars to the refrigerator - this will prevent the formation of layers. Once the ghee has solidified, transfer the jars to a dry and dark space such as a cabinet.
You’ll find ghee at the health food store, but it’s easy to make. Add one to two teaspoons per day to meals, stirring a teaspoon into freshly cooked rice, spreading it on toast, or using it to top a baked potato. Or you could take 2 teaspoons per day as a supplement alone.
You could also blend a teaspoon of ghee into your tea, coffee, oatmeal, or smoothie, or use melted ghee instead of butter to top popcorn or sautéed veggies.
Just remember that ghee is fat, and only a certain amount of total fat is necessary in the diet. If you use ghee, reduce your total fat intake proportionately.
When making your own ghee, source salted or unsalted organic, grass-fed, and/or cultured butter.