I’m not gonna lie, when I think about ghee I get all warm and cozy inside and a little giddy. In ayurveda they call it liquid gold. I call it freaking delicious.
So what is it? Ghee is, in essence, clarified butter. It’s golden in color and has an absolutely intoxicating toasty, buttery flavor. It is made through a simple process of heating organic, unsalted butter over low heat until the water and milk solids separate out. This way you are left with pure oil – a gorgeous, golden liquid that is full of magical healing properties (rather than the accumulative properties that butter has).
Since the milk solids are cooked out, ghee can be more easily digested by those who are lactose intolerant. It also becomes shelf stable and doesn’t need to be refrigerated (no more dealing with scraping hard butter onto your toast!). You can use it like you would butter or any other oil, but ghee has a huge bonus: the smoke point is higher than butter so it doesn’t burn when you are sautéing, and it safer (and more stable) than olive oil so it’s perfect for cooking at higher temperatures.
In terms of your health, ghee is a miracle food. It enhances your agni (digestive fire), calms the nerves (and pacifies vata and pitta doshas), creates radiance and adds a healthy glow to the skin, increases physical and mental stamina, increases longevity, and nurtures and cleanses the blood tissue.
As if that is not enough to get all giddy about, Ghee can also be used topically on your skin in place of oil and, as I recently learned you can even make candles out of it! A small jar of ghee makes for a super special hostess gift or holiday treat for friends and family.
Ok, can you tell that I freaking love this stuff? Enough talk, lets get you the info you need to make it right now so you can get giddy for ghee too.
What you’ll need
1 pound of unsalted, organic butter (this is crucial! I use organic valley – the yellow package)
1 pint-sized mason jar with lid
a medium sized sauce pan (stainless steel, not Teflon coated)
a medium sized bowl (with a spout if you got it)
It’s best to prepare the ghee in a clean, calm space. My yoga teacher suggests making ghee while the moon is waxing or full to maximize the moon’s soma, or healing energy. I love this.
Step 1. Unwrap the butter and place it in your saucepan. Bring the butter to a gentle simmer. It will start to make some sounds and the smell will start to come up. Enjoy the process, and stay with the ghee as it transforms. It’s a nice practice to say some sweet healing prayers over it as it cooks. Do not stir or disturb the ghee, just let it do it’s thing as you observe and listen.
The process is unique each time and can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 for 1 pound of butter (longer typically if you are making more). A white foam may appear on top and a brown layer may burn to the bottom of the pan. It’s all good.
Step 2. The ghee is ready exactly when the popping stops. Once it has turned amber and is barely popping, remove it from the heat immediately or it will burn. Allow it to cool slightly. As it does, place your clean, dry mason jar into the bowl (to catch any ghee that overflows). Place the cheesecloth over the mason jar and screw the ring over it, leaving a slight impression in the cloth to hold the ghee as it passes through the cheesecloth. Pour the ghee through the cheesecloth, and squeeze out any extra.
Cover your ghee with the mason jar lid and store it in a cupboard in your kitchen away from light (it will last indefinitely if not contaminated). Be sure to use a clean, dry utensil when you use your ghee, and to savor every drop.