Ghee!

I grew up with clarified butter and ghee… my mother and grandmother and great grandmothers made it for middle eastern baking… and I re-discovered my love for ghee when I found Ayurveda.  Ghee is considered a primary “rasayana” {rejuvenating} food in Ayurveda, promoting deep tissue nourishment, longevity and virility.  Ghee is used in vedic rituals as an offering of wealth and abundance and has many kitchen-based medicinal and nourishing qualities and is wonderful for cooking, spreading, baking, and even as a vehicle for taking herbs.

Ghee has a special quality relative to butter. Both are nourishing and tissue building, however, butter is cooling and can dampen your digestive fire, while ghee actually can ignite your digestive fire {agni}. Furthermore, butter will burn when cooking, while ghee can be heated without burning.

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 the attention of your senses.

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, Grass Fed Unsalted Butter (1 lb or more) – 1 lb of butter will take about 20 minutes… as you increase the amount of butter, the 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 to strain the ghee.

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. It is okay to stir up the solids. 
  5. Pay attention! Use your sense of sound and smell and sight. Sound – there will be a specific sound of the milk solids transforming {a sound that is different from the actual overall bubbling of the butter}. As that transformational sound quietens down, the ghee is done. You can check by turning up the heat slightly, 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. If the only noise is the noise of the liquid itself bubbling, then the ghee is done! *These all make the difference between clarified butter and ghee. The process is the same, but clarified butter is done before all of these signs. 
  6. Smell – when the butter just barely begins to smell carmelized or different than how it smelled at the beginning, it is done. Sight – as it becomes ghee, it will become more and more golden-translucent. It is done when it is a golden-clear color The milk solids settling at the bottom will be browned and carmelized on the bottom of the pot.You can use the spoon to pull away the foam at the top to see the color and quality beneath. It’s done. The timing of this can vary – depending on the nature of the butter and on the quantity that you are making. So you really must be present with your ghee.
  7. As you see one or more of the signs described above, remove it from the heat. Let it cool a bit.  
  8. Transfer the ghee to your clean and dry glass jar while it’s still warm / hot by pouring it slowly through a fine strainer or cheesecloth. 
  9. Cover the jar
  10. Store at room temperature.
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.

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

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s