Homemade Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Ghee is one my favorite ingredients to cook with for many reasons. The first is that it brings back beautiful childhood memories of my mother’s cooking (the person who inspired me to get so creative and passionate in the kitchen). She would cook with ghee on special occasions like Eid (holidays celebrated by Muslims) or once-in-a-while-weekend breakfasts of making overstuffed Aloo Parathas (flat bread stuffed with spices and potatoes and fried in ghee). The smell of spices mixed with the buttery smell of ghee indicated to me that we were celebrating something amazing that day.
Once I started living on my own, I decided to cook with ghee more often. What’s so special about this healthy fat? For one thing it has an extremely high smoke point of 482 °F (250 °C) and since it’s a saturated fat, it is more stable than other fats/oils, therefore less prone to oxidation and nutrient destruction during cooking. If you’re lactose intolerant like me you can still consume ghee because the cooking process includes separating and getting rid of the milk solids (which includes the lactose), hence in English it’s called clarified butter. No milk solids also lets you store ghee for at least a month at room temperature without worrying about it getting moldy (just make sure to keep water/moisture outside of the jar). Another benefit is that when ghee is made from good quality butter (think dairy from grass-fed cows) it is a great source of fat-soluble vitamins K, A, and E.
What’s the best way to use ghee? The answer is you can use it for almost anything if you don’t mind a buttery flavor! Use it while baking or sautéing. Remember that ghee has an intensified and concentrated flavor, so a little bit goes a long way. My favorite way to use ghee is to sauté greens like spinach, kale, and swiss chard with a bit of garlic. Using it to make scrambled eggs in a pot is also glorious -I’ll have to write a recipe post for that soon. For now, you can use this recipe to make your own at home. Its quick, easy, and much cheaper to make from scratch rather than using store-bought ghee which can get very expensive.
· 1 small pot
· Spatula or spoon for skimming
· Fine mesh strainer
· Glass jar for storing
· 8 oz of unsalted butter (preferably grass-fed)
*It’s very important to use unsalted butter or else the flavor of the ghee with be to salty to cook with. Using high quality butter will maximize the benefits of your ghee and give it the best flavor.
1. Heat the butter in the pot over medium heat until it is completely melted.
2. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
3. Cook the ghee for about 10 to 15 minutes. Once the butter starts to bubble you can start to skim the white foam off. Discard for later use such as composting, feeding to your animals, or cooking with if you are not lactose intolerant. Be watchful of the pot the entire time to make sure the butter went through the proper bubbling stages (it will be about twice) and doesn’t burn.
4. Turn off the heat and let the ghee cool for a few minutes.
5. Put a fine mesh strainer lined with several layers of cheesecloth over your glass jar and slowly strain the ghee to separate the milk solids. You can discard/compost the milk solids or save them for use.
6. You can store the ghee at room temperature (remember to avoid any moisture from getting into the jar) for at least a month or more but its best used before then. You can also store it in the fridge if you plan to use it more sparingly and want it to last even longer. It will just take some time to be more spreadable. Remember a little bit goes a long way!