Ghee comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “sprinkled,” which means that the milk fat is rendered from the butter to separate the milk solids and water. It’s essentially a form of clarified butter.
What is ghee?
Sometimes called ‘clarified butter,’ ghee is butter that undergoes a process of purification. Butter is cooked until the milk solids turn brown and stick to the bottom of the pan. After straining, what stays is a delicious pure butter fat that can be stored at room temperature.
Is ghee good for me?
Because of the clarification process, unlike butter, ghee is very low in lactose and casein and supplies our bodies with vitamins like A, E, and K2. In Ayurveda, ghee is an essential superfood with dozens of health benefits for thousands of years. Here’s why:
- It promotes a healthy digestive tract: Healing your gut is an important first step in combating any digestive issues—and many other health concerns. Ghee is rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid that nourishes and repairs intestinal cells.
- It decreases inflammation and reduces the risk of cancer: Butyric acid supports the production of killer T cells, which kill cancer cells. Ayurvedic physicians have used ghee for centuries to decrease inflammation.
- It can help reduce the risk of heart disease: Ghee is rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid known to protect against carcinogens, artery plaque, and diabetes. Because of these benefits, researchers say ghee can help prevent cardiovascular diseases.
- It may be able to help you lose weight: In addition to the cardiovascular benefits provided by the CLA in ghee, it has also been shown to help prevent weight gain and aid in weight loss. One study showed that participants who took CLA supplements over a six-month period lost significant amounts of weight.
- It helps cleanse negative emotional toxins and promotes positivity: Ghee is considered one of the most Sattvic foods, which are essential, energy-giving, and pure. Sattvic foods promote positivity, growth, and expansion of consciousness.
How do I use ghee?
You can use Ghee the same way you would use butter or oil. Use it on toast, in mashed potatoes, or on steamed veggies; ghee keeps your meals from tasting dry. You can cook or fry with ghee as you would your favorite cooking oil. In fact, it’s ideal for cooking since it has a high smoke point and performs well at high heat. Ghee is used traditionally in Indian cooking for frying fragrant spices for curries or dhals. It has a rich, nutty flavor. For a delicious breakfast, drizzle some on hot cereal with a small pinch of sea salt and a little bit of maple syrup.
How To Make Ghee?
Two pounds of butter will make one quart of ghee. Put the butter (sweet and unsalted, organic if available) in a heavy, medium-size pot, turn the heat to medium, and heat until the butter melts, taking care not to burn the butter.
Then turn down the heat, cook until the butter just boils, and continue to cook at this temperature. Do not cover the pot, as it is important to boil the water out and separate the solids. The butter will foam and sputter for a while and then begin to quiet down. Stir it occasionally with a stainless steel spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan.
In 12 to 15 minutes your ghee will begin to smell like popcorn and will turn a lovely golden color. Whitish curds will form and separate from the clear ghee. When these whitish curds turn a light tan color, and the boiling quiets down, the ghee is ready. Take it off the heat immediately, for it is most likely to burn at this stage. The cooking time should not be longer than 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the kind of pan and the heat source.
Let the ghee cool until it is just warm. The solid curds will have settled to the bottom of the pot. Decant the clear ghee into a container, and discard the solid curds left on the bottom.
Ghee can be kept on the kitchen shelf. It does not need refrigeration. Its medicinal properties are said to improve with age. Don’t ladle out the ghee with a wet spoon or allow any water to get into the container, as this will create the conditions for bacteria to grow and spoil the ghee.
Effects Of Ghee
Ghee increases digestive fire and improves absorption and assimilation. It nourishes Ojas, the subtle essence of all the body’s tissues strengthens the brain and nervous system, and improves memory. It lubricates the connective tissue and makes the body more flexible. Ghee carries the medicinal properties of herbs to all seven Dhatus. It pacifies Pitta and Vata and is okay for Kapha in moderation.
NOTE: People who have high cholesterol or who suffer from obesity should be cautious about using ghee.
How To Make Medicated Ghees
Ghee is a highly effective Anupama (vehicle) for carrying herbs to the deeper tissues of the body. Hence many remedies are made by cooking herbs into ghee. Examples include Shatavari ghee, Brahmi ghee, Tikta ghrita (bitter ghee), Triphala ghee, and many others. The process is quite lengthy, and you will probably prefer to purchase these medicated ghees (and medicated oils as well). But if you wish to make it yourself, proceed as follows:
First, make the ghee, as described above.
Next, make a decoction of the desired herbs by cooking 1 part dry herbs to 16 parts of water, or about ½ ounce of herbs per cup (8 ounces) of water. Boil the herbs slowly over a low flame until the water is reduced to one-quarter its original amount. For example, 4 cups would be reduced to 1, or 1 cup to ¼ cup. Then strain out the herbs. This process takes several hours. The liquid can be used as a prepared medicinal decoction, but in this case, you are going to use it for your medicated ghee.
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