Butter is the stuff of life! But it doesn’t store well for long-term preparedness when you have to rely on keeping it frozen. But there is a way to save the butter for your pantry….GHEE! Follow along for easy instructions on how to do it:
Ghee is some wonderful stuff! It has a nutty aroma and lends itself to cooking so well. We use if often to cook with.
You might know it from your Red Lobster days with a lobster – clarified butter. But basically, Ghee is butter that has had the milk solids cooked out of it. You boil it, strain it and stick it in a jar.
Ghee is used a lot in Indian cook to replace butter in cooking. It can be used by even lactose intolerant folks because the milk solids have been taken out of the ghee..so there’s actually no milk left. It can be used to replace butter in a lot of applications. Which also makes it an excellent way to store your butter long-term!
Benefits of Ghee:
- Does not contain milk solids, so even lactose intolerant people can use it for cooking
- Stores at room temperature on your counter in a semi-solid state, but can be stored in the fridge if your house runs hot, though it will become solid and need to be brought to room temp. to use it
- It has a very high smoke point, so you can use it in place of more volatile oils in your cooking – fry, sear, etc.
- It’s high in vitamin K2
- Ghee can be used to replace lipids such as olive oil in your cooking, or used as a spread like butter. However, the taste, in our opinion, doesn’t really work well as a butter replacement on toast, but if you’re making something to go on top, like cinnamon/sugar, then it will work just fine.
Ghee is a saturated fat, but because it’s made in a more healthy way than hydrogenated fats, it is better for you than margarine (gosh, isn’t just about everything better for you than margarine?). And for those of us trying to move away from the Standard American Diet which consists of so many processed foods, using Ghee and Olive Oil can replace about 90% of the processed fats we use in our home.
While Ghee does contain cholesterol, the benefits of it as a cooking ‘lipid’ far outweighs the issue of it being a saturated fat. And, in the process, if you’re using raw or cold-processed, grass-fed butter straight from your local dairy, here is virtually no processing of the butter – you have no additives (color and shelf stability), no loss of the good stuff in butter. Be particularly mindful to only use unsalted butter with no additives (and if you can find cultured – that’s even better!)
Ghee stores long-term – I’ve had a jar in the pantry for about a six months, which I broke out last week to use, and it’s great! You should be able to store it for a year or longer with safe methods.
How to Make Ghee
1 lb unsalted, pure butter
- Put butter in the pan, and bring it to a slow and gentle boil. Do not boil on high heat as it can burn those milk solids that collect on the bottom, and give it a bad taste.
- As the foam begins to form on the top – which is the moisture coming out of the butter, skim it off with a spoon.
- In approximately 15-20 min, your ghee will be ready.
- As the ghee layer begins to turn a golden brown and take on a nutty flavor, you’ll be just about done.
- Use a strainer lined with paper towels or cheese cloth to strain the ghee into a wide mouth jar or large measuring cup. You don’t want the milk solids to go into the final product.
- Once you’ve strained all the ghee, transfer into an clean, air tight container to store on the cabinet. I’ve never had to store it for longer than a month or two, but it does last for a long time.
I store my ghee in canning jars just as if I were canning. I prepare them in the same way by heating in boiling water for 20 min to make sure I have clean, sanitized jars. I, however, do not process them as you would other food. I just pour into the jars, seal, and store as per above.
Use Ghee to replace oil or butter or margarine for light duty oils in your everyday cooking. Use larger amounts for deep frying. And because it has a higher smoke point, it’s better for you to use in high temp cooking than olive oil which breaks down at high temps.
Here is a video on how to make ghee to see the process.
You can also just bake the butter in a dish in the oven at 350 for about an hour, then skim off the top foam layer and finish the process as usual. I just prefer keeping my eye on it in a saucepan and skimming as I go while I’m doing other things in the kitchen.
You can also purchase Ghee already made from many health food stores (Whole Foods, etc) and Indian markets.
(photo credit: ljguitar)