OMGhee!

I like butter, a lot. So when I heard I could make butter healthier and still keep the deliciousness, I was pretty sure I was being punk’d. And off I went to the test kitchen (aka my kitchen).

Ghee is not a secret if you are a yogi or a cross fitter or desperately lactose intolerant; it has been around for thousands of years. But if, like me, you are a native midwesterner who was raised on a daily three squares of meat and dairy, than ghee is a bit of a mystery to you.

Here is the deal, ghee is similar to clarified butter (like for crab legs). It is butter from grass fed-and also sacred-cows that has been cooked to remove the milk solids (lactose, whey, and casein) and the water. Ghee  originated in India and is still commonly used in South Asian, Iranian and Arabic cuisines, Ayurvedic medicine, and religious rituals.

Nutritionally, ghee is a more concentrated source of fat than butter since the moisture and the milk solids are removed during its preparation. One tablespoon of ghee has 13 g of fat and 117 calories versus butter, which has 11 g fat and 100 calories per tablespoon.

Why ghee in your kitchen?

  1. Ghee has a higher smoke point than many other “healthy” oils so it is good for frying and sautéing.
  2. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated and has a shelf life of up to 3 months.
  3. It can replace butter for those who are lactose intolerant because the milk solids have been removed.

Why ghee in your body?

  1. It is high in butyrate which is a short-chain fatty acid essential to the colon and the intestinal ecosystem.
  2. Ghee can reduce inflammation when applied to the skin and is used to treat burns in auyrvedic medicine. It can also be used as a skin moisturizer.
  3. This oil is rich in fat soluable vitamins A, D, E, and K.

There are some studies that show this delicious oil may reduce the risks of cancer, lower your cholesterol and support weight loss. But let’s not go crazy here. Keep in mind that it is butter, not magic, and still contains the saturated fats that should be kept to a minimum.

You can buy ghee at most well stocked grocery stores, but I suggest making your own because:

  1. it is easy
  2. if you are thinking about ghee, you have already gone all-in on the health food thing, so you might as well take it to an extremely unnecessary level. That’s how we like to do it around here.

Let’s Make Ghee

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Start with  unsalted butter from grass fed cows. Try not to eat this butter before you turn it into ghee; it is amazing on a spiritual level, as the Hindus already know (even though technically, the butter in the photo is Irish. But whatever). 8 oz of butter makes about 6 oz of ghee when all is said and done.

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Line a sieve with two layers of cheese cloth and strain the oil into a small container. The milk solids will catch in the cheese cloth and the strainer and you should be left with only the oil. If it looks like maybe you still have some milk solids in there (white cloudiness or graininess) strain it again, I did.
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I strained mine twice and then put it into the refrigerator to firm up, but you can leave it on the counter or in your pantry, too.

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