Ghee!

“I nourish you gods, who are everywhere present, with yogurt, with butter, and with milk” – Rig Veda

I grew up with ghee… my mother and her mother made it for baking traditional middle eastern sweets… and I re-discovered my love for ghee when I found Ayurveda.  Ghee is considered a primary “rasayana” in Ayurveda – that means it is rejuvenating and promotes longevity as well as virility.  Ghee is used in vedic rituals and has many kitchen-based medicinal and nourishing qualities and is wonderful for cooking, spreading, baking, and even as a vehicle for  taking herbs.  Below is a simple ghee recipe, followed by a short article about ghee. It is very simple to make, and mainly requires organic butter plus your attention 🙂

Like I said, I learned ghee making from my mom… and she still uses it too.  Here’s her photo response to my telling her I had just made ghee…

Ingredients & Tools

  • Organic, Unsalted Butter (1 lb or more) – 1 lb of butter will take about 15-20 minutes… as you increase the amount of butter, the clarification time can increase.
  • A clean, dry, glass jar, like a mason jar.
  • A stainless steel or silver spoon.
  • A heavy / thick-bottomed stainless steel pot – large enough that there will be room at the top.
  • A fine stainless steel strainer – I use this one from Far Leaves Tea in Berkeley – or several layers of fine cotton cheese cloth.

Instructions

  1. Place the butter in the pot. 
  2. Melt the butter at medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Once the butter is liquified, turn the heat down to a low setting – just high enough that there is some gentle, slow, quiet bubbling… not so low that it is still & silent and not so high that it is sputtering or boiling. 
  4. Keep the ghee at this low temperature, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Check it frequently at the 12 minute mark (for 1 lb) as it starts to become more and more golden-translucent, so as not to burn it. Remove it from the heat if it starts to darken.  You can use the spoon to pull away the foam at the top to see the color and quality beneath. 
  6. It is done when it is a golden-clear color… you can also tell if it’s really clarified by turning up the heat, and putting your ear over the pot… if you can hear a scouring sound – like the sound of that sucking thing that vacuums your saliva at the dentist – there are still solids being clarified… if the only noise is the noise of the liquid itself bubbling, then the ghee is done!
  7. Remove from heat. 
  8. Transfer the ghee to your clean and dry glass jar while it’s still hot. 
  9. Pour the ghee slowly through your sieve or cloth. 
  10. Cover the jar
This is the strainer I use – from Farleaves.com

Here is some information about Ghee from my friends at Ancient Organics:

In India, ghee has always been a sacred and celebrated symbol of auspiciousness, nourishment and healing; especially in the daily rituals of cooking and worship.

Ghee is a premium cooking oil celebrated for its taste, nutritional benefits, and medicinal qualities. Ayurveda, the ancient medical science of India, recognizes ghee as an essential part of a balanced diet, and considers it to be the best fat one can eat. Ghee is the very essence of butter; the end result of a long, slow, careful clarification process that removes all the moisture, milk solids and impurities. The absence of milk solids and water in ghee make it completely shelf stable. Ghee has one of the highest flash points (485ºF) which make this oil the best choice for high temperature cooking.

Ghee is comprised of full spectrum short, medium and long chain fatty acids, both unsaturated and saturated. Ghee contains Omega 3 and Omega 9 essential fatty acids along with vitamins A, D, E and K. Ghee made from organic butter of pastured cows is one of the highest natural sources of CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). 9 phenolic anti-oxidants, as well as numerous other minerals are present in ghee.

Ghee is known as a substance that gives longevity, its elemental qualities balance the aging characteristics by enriching the living body.

Ghee has been used for centuries as a digestive and elimination aid, for energy, sexual vitality, skin and eye health, as a lubricant for the joints and for alkalizing the blood.

The purity of ghee allows it to be deep penetrating and nourishing as it passes it passes through the lipid membranes of cells. For this reason, the vitamins and minerals from food cooked in ghee will be drawn deep into the body where they impart the most benefit. The assimilation of the nutrients increases when suspended in a ghee matrix. When you add spices to ghee to cook with the flavor is carried deep into the food. Many herbal preparations use ghee as the carrier oil because of these characteristics.

(Bel0w) Me, holding a ghee lamp used during my wedding ceremony… my grandmother made the ghee that morning.

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