What is ghee?
Ghee is made using a simple traditional process of clarifying butter which separates the milk solids from the fat. Some people have a sensitivity or intolerance to lactose (the sugar component of butter) and casein (the protein component) which are found in the milk solids. Once this is removed, the butter takes on a different flavour but can still be used in all the same glorious ways that butter is used.
Making your own ghee at home is a simple process of separating the milk solids from the fat. The cost is the same as a block of butter, and you can choose which brand of butter you use to make the ghee. The butter quality is important for the process to work, plus if you are going to go to the trouble of making your own ghee, you want it to be good!
Why is it good for gut health?
Butyrate, the short chain fatty acid found in butter fat has anti-inflammatory properties (particularly for the large intestine), it can help reinforce the protective barrier of the intestines, assists in digesting fibre and increasing secretion of gastric acid. All of which will help with digestive process.
You will need
- 250g block of unsalted organic or grass fed butter
- 1 jar with a lid
- Rubber band
- Saucepan and stove
Take the clean and dry jar, place the cheesecloth over the top and secure with a rubber band and put it aside.
Cut the butter into chunks.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Stir only occasionally.
Once melted, the butter will begin to froth. Then over the next 5 minutes or so the froth will begin to break apart. You will then be able to see these bits go a light shade of brown, stick to the sides, sink or stick to the bottom of the saucepan. The butter will also turn a light golden colour and the aroma will change.
At this point it can burn quickly, so before it burns and turns a dark browny-golden colour, remove it from the heat and gently and slowly pour the hot butter into the jar through the cheesecloth. The cheesecloth will catch the frothy butter solids and the remaining liquid is the ghee.
Allow the ghee to cool and then store it in the pantry or the fridge. As it is now a pure saturated fat it will go quite hard even at room temperature but it will last much longer than butter.
How to use ghee
You can use ghee in any way that you would use butter or oil, plus because it’s a saturated fat it will tolerate a high heat. Here are a few of my favourite ways:
- place a spoonful on a just-out-of-the-oven baked sweet potato or potato with a little salt
- put a small spoonful in a frypan to fry an egg or two
- toss vegetables with a little melted ghee prior to roasting in the oven
- melt a spoonful of ghee in a pan and stir fry a few vegetables
- place a dollop on ghee on steak, or any other just cooked meat for a little slice of melted heaven
If you give it a go, let me know! If you have any questions or comments about the process please comment below. Good luck!
- Canani et al. 2011, ‘Potential beneficial effects of butyrate in intestinal and extra intestinal diseases’, World Journal of Gastroenterology, vol. 17, no. 12, pp. 1519-28.
- Hamer et al. 2008, ‘Review article: the role of butyrate on colonic function’, Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 104-19.