This morning’s flavor comes straight from my stovetop. The golden goodness of grass-fed, jersey cow butter is bubbling happily as it is well on its way to becoming delicious ghee.
Ghee is sweet, a little savory with a smooth mouthfeel. Although the process for making ghee is similar to that of making clarified butter, ghee requires a little bit longer, slower, lower heat cooking time. This allows for the removal of even more moisture and enhances the flavor as the milk solids caramelize and rise to the surface. The tradition of making and utilizing ghee is ancient. In Ayurveda, it is considered a sattvic food, which means it promotes higher consciousness and well-being. It is a staple in Indian cooking and Traditional Indian Medicine.
From a culinary perspective ghee is great, if prepared correctly it will last a very long time in the refrigerator or in cooler temperatures on your countertop. It has a higher heat tolerance after all the milk solids are cooked out so it can be used in a variety of cooking endeavors, even those that require high heat. It is also great in baked goods since it delivers a very distinctive sweet, savory almost umami hint of flavor. I use ghee and coconut oil as my two main go to’s for cooking and baking.
From a medicinal perspective, there is unfortunately very little western research specific to ghee, although there is ample research specific to some of the properties that are found in ghee. For example, ghee contains medium chain fatty acid much like coconut oil; making it a more desirable choice for consumption. Remember that medium chain triglycerides are actually some of the fat good guys and can do things like help with balanced brain and nervous system function. MCT’s in appropriate amounts can contribute to weight loss and cardiovascular health and cellular regeneration. Ghee also contains butyric acid, which helps keep your digestive bacteria happy and healthy; so it is a great option for people trying to manage chronic digestive inflammation and ailments; including IBS and Crohn’s Disease.
One more bonus; because is typically tolerated well even by people who exhibit milk intolerance or allergy because the milk sugars are cooked out and all that is left is the fat and other nutrients and enzymes.
In Ayurveda ghee is often the medium used to deliver medicinal interventions; for example mixing the appropriate spices with a little ghee to form a “pill” makes them much easier to consume with the added bonus from the medicinal properties of the ghee itself.
If you’re not up to making a batch of ghee, which does require patience and attention, you can purchase it from most natural or traditional foods markets and give it a try.
I love making it because it makes me stop and stay present with what I’m doing. In that sense, it is a stress reliever and I feel more connected with my food. I also love that I get the extra deliciousness of the caramelized milk solids, which are an absolutely divine sweet treat.