I was talking with the person who helps with our marketing and mentioned that she should use coconut oil or ghee in a certain recipe. She looked a bit confused and asked, what is ghee? Talk about me taking things for granted. This is a smart lady who cooks a lot, her brother was a classically trained chef, and so I was surprised she didn’t know about ghee. Especially nowadays, since ghee seems to be everywhere. So if she didn’t know, who else doesn’t know about this wonderful substance? Turns out, a lot of people don’t. Thus the topic of this post – here’s what ghee is and what the benefits you gain by using it.
What Is Ghee?
Butter is composed of three ingredients: butterfat, milk solids, and water. Remove the milk solids and water, and you’re left with ghee, a type of clarified butter. The absence of milk solids leaves ghee with a much higher smoke point, which makes it a lot easier to cook with over high heat. Its smoke point is actually higher that most cooking oils, like grapeseed, canola, and coconut oil.
Ghee is one of those special superfoods that gives you the best of both worlds: it’s deeply rejuvenating, powerfully health-boosting and has out-of-this-world flavor. It has been revered as a prized food in India for thousands of years.
Can I Make Ghee?
Yes, you can make ghee by melting butter over medium-low heat until simmering. As the water in the butter slowly evaporates, the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pan. After all the water has evaporated (the butter will stop making a sputtering sound), it’s removed from the heat, and poured through a cheesecloth-lined strainer to remove the milk solids. You’re left with pure butterfat (clarified butter). You can use salted or unsalted butter, your preference.
Pour Ghee into a heatproof glass jar and it will last quite a while. It’s okay to leave it out at room temperature, away from light and heat, for about three months. To extend its life, store it in the fridge, where it can last for up to a year. Like coconut oil, it will harden in the fridge, but softens up relatively quickly when left out on the counter for five to 10 minutes. Use it like you would any cooking fat.
Can I Buy Ghee in the Store?
Yes, but not all stores carry it. Locally here in Kansas City, Sprouts and Whole Foods have it, or you can buy it in specialty stores. Costco also carries it. The most important consideration when buying ghee is that it comes from 100% grass-fed, pasture-raised cows. If it is also organic that’s even better. Ghee should always be packaged in glass jars for maximum freshness and potency.
What Are Ghee’s Health Benefits?
Ghee’s benefits are many, and the following summarizes just a few highlights of a very detailed article about its benefits from ConsciousLifestyle Magazine.
1. Nourishes and Protects the Brain
Few people realize that saturated fat is essential for proper brain health and ghee is one of the highest-quality and healthiest sources of saturated fat available. Plus the article outlines several other benefits and nutrients for the brain that ghee provides.
2. Heals and Repairs Digestion and the Digestive Tract
When it comes to healing and improving digestion, there are few substances on the planet as powerful as ghee for a number of reasons. Ghee is one of nature’s richest sources of butyrate (butyric acid), a short-chain fatty acid that causes intestinal wall cells to proliferate, meaning that it essentially causes the growth and repair of new tissues in the digestive tract. Besides healing and improving digestion, ghee provides a whole lot more in terms of support of a healthy gut.
Rich in Essential, Health-Boosting Vitamins, Minerals and Nutrients
In addition to all of its medicinal benefits, ghee is also rich in some harder-to-get essential nutrients: Vitamins A, E, K2; high quality cholesterol; Omega-3 and Omega-9 Fatty Acids; and Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA). The article provides details on why these are important to your health.
Rich in Ojas: Increases Life Force and Deeply Rejuvenating to the Mind, Body
Of all the benefits of ghee, perhaps the most important is its ability to increase life-force energy in the body. According to the ancient Indian system of medicine known as Ayurveda, ghee supplies the body and mind with ojas, which loosely translates to “vitality” or “life force.” In Ayurvedic philosophy, ojas is a primordial life energy that we all possess that keeps us alive and healthy but can be depleted by age, stress, poor diet/nutrition, sexual excess, toxins and more.
Physically, Energetically and Emotionally Calming and Nourishing
In Ayurvedic medicine, ghee is said to be tri-doshic in smaller doses, meaning that it restores balance and harmony and tends to calm (pacify) all body types (or constitutions).
6. Great for Cooking: High Smoke Point and Tastes Great
Ghee makes a great cooking oil for almost any type of food by any method. It can handle heat up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (232 Celsius) and imparts a rich, buttery flavor. As a saturated fat, ghee is also more stable than other fats/oils, thus it is less prone to oxidation and nutrient destruction during cooking.
7. Detoxifying Physically and Emotionally
In Ayurveda, ghee has traditionally been used as a detoxifying agent on the physical and emotional levels. Ghee also helps to lubricate the body and intestines, helping with constipation and promoting regular bowel movements in healthy individuals.