How to Make Ghee, the Ayurvedic Liquid Gold
What has a higher smoke point than butter, a better flavour than butter, keeps better, and cooks better? Ghee. Ghee is so very easy to fall in love with, it's incredibly delicious, and healthy. You'll find here that it's not that difficult (and cheap) to make yourself and it's quite a meditative process.
In this article, I'll share with you:
the recipe that I use
the benefits of this wonderful Ayurvedic gold liquid
how to use it in the kitchen but also against common complaints
What is Ghee?
My definition of ghee is healthy butter. It is basically butter without the water and hard to digest, cholesterol forming milk solids. Ghee is made by boiling the water out of butter. Sugar, proteins and saturated fats, the milk solids, precipitate out and settle to the bottom. Then the ghee is poured through a cheesecloth or similarly fine filter. Ghee is amazing for cooking but it is still used in Ayurvedic massage and as a base for herbal ointments to treat burns and rashes. Quite versatile.
Note that it it’s both casein and lactose-free. People who are officially lactose intolerant (or lactose-free) eat it and digest it.
Ghee has played a key role in Ayurveda for centuries, where it's prized for its anti-inflammatory, digestive, and therapeutic properties. In Vedic culture, ghee has been celebrated as a symbol of nourishment and health, and considered as the food of the gods in the Vedic texts.
Ghee is one of the most widely mentioned medicines in the ancient Ayurvedic texts. Here are just a few of the ways it is touted as beneficial for our health:
Relieves inflammation or irritation
Helps with constipation
Strengthens and rejuvenates
Increases immunity and vital energy (Ojas).
Improves memory and cognitive functions
Improves complexion, voice and eyesight
Enhances flavour of foods, increases absorption of nutrients and pacifies all three doshas, especially Vata and Pitta.
Organic, unsalted butter (be sure to use organic butter, as the quality of a cow’s life will greatly affect the quality of your ghee)
1 clean, dry glass jar with a lid
1 stainless steel saucepan
1 stainless steel fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
There are several ways to prepare ghee and I don't think there is only one good way to do it. I suggest here the one I made.
Cut the butter into large cubes, place them in a thick-bottomed saucepan (for better heat distribution), and melt it over very low heat, without covering (never).
After 15-25 minutes (depending on the amount of butter you're using), a foam will start to form on the surface. Using a very fine sieve or a wooden spoon, gently & gradually scoop out the white foam that forms on the surface (this is the milk protein).
Once there is no more foam forming (all the water has now evaporated): the ghee is ready! A golden, transparent liquid remains. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for about 10-15 minutes. The solid parts should sink to the bottom of the pan.
Carefully pour the ghee into a glass jar, straining it one last time ( or even twice) through a cotton cheesecloth or a very fine sieve to remove any residue left.
Before closing the lid of our jar, allow the ghee cool down completely (it will set a little below 25°C)
Storage : Ghee can be kept on the kitchen shelf as it does not need refrigeration. Poke some holes in the lid. Always use a clean, dry spoon or knife when using ghee, as introducing water or food into the ghee will create rancidity.
How to Use Your Ghee
In the kitchen:
Cook with it! It can be swapped for vegetable oil or coconut oil in baked goods or used for sautéing and deep-frying.
Spread on your toast – replace butter or butter alternatives
Add a teaspoon of ghee to your hot breakfast cereal.
Add ghee to your coffee—sounds strange, but it’s delicious!
Melt over steamed vegetables, potatoes, or rice.
Sauté your culinary spices in ghee and add to soups, stews and kitchari.
Ghee against common complaints :
Constipation: take 1 tablespoon of ghee in hot milk / rice milk at night before you go to bed.
Dry skin: 1 tbsp ghee on food during a day.
Dry nose, headache and fatigue: Put a drop of ghee in each nostril in the morning when you wake up.
Headache with heat in the body and eyes caused by high pitta: Massage the soles of the feet with ghee.
Burning sensation in the hands and feet: Massaging the body parts with ghee.
Migraines, for the freshness of mind and memory: 2 drops of ghee in the nostrils in the morning.
You want to know more about Ayurvedic cooking? Join us for the Yoga & Ayurvedic Cooking weekend at the beginning of March. All information here.
Don't hesitate to leave me a comment, and happy ghee everyone!