Saturday, August 10, 2013

Facts about Fats: Ghee

Hey there!

So I've been wanting to do a post about oils/fats for a while now. There's so much information out there about what fats to use and how to use them so I'm hoping to narrow it down and shine some light on a few key fats that I love to use the most (cause I think they're great). There's nothing fancy here today -- just the basics for everyday eating.

The fats I use on a regular basis are Ghee, Coconut Oil and Expeller-Pressed Olive Oil (which I also flavor with herbs). There are of course other oils I would love to use, such as nut oils, avocado oil etc but when you're shopping on a budget those things usually get put back on the shelf. ; ) I'm keeping my eye open though for my golden opportunity to grab one of those fancy babes on sale.

But for now, let's talk about Ghee! I'll do other posts on Coconut Oil and Olive Oil soon.

Ghee:  This tasty fat is pictured above. It's typically made from cow's milk and is the same thing as clarified butter (lobster anyone?!). Although cow's milk is not my first choice because it is harder on our digestive systems and contains lactose, I happen to love this golden brew. I love it because it has a high burning point, it's lactose free AND the taste is just so buttery, browned and deeeeelicious!

When you clarify butter you are separating the milk solids from the fat in the butter and evaporating the water content. The milk solids (where the lactose is) float to the top creating a white foamy layer. Usually this takes around 20-30 minutes of simmering on the stove. While the milk solids float to the top, the water evaporates and the fat just gets golden and more golden. OH MAN. I'm licking my lips thinking about it! So when the butter is ready you pour the liquid through a strainer or cheesecloth to catch the milk solids and what's left behind is Ghee! Yeay!

The separating of the milk solids is the essential step to making Ghee. It's important because it not only removes the lactose (which is hard on most everyone's digestion) but also allows the Ghee to have a higher burning /smoke point. This is important for everyone, lactose intolerant or not. : ) See, when a fat reaches it's burning point it starts to turn into a gas and let off free radicals. Free radicals are extremely harmful to the body. They are actually molecules that are unevenly paired. In order to even up and stabilize, they attack other molecules in the body. They seek to take electrons from other molecules to stabilize, but unfortunately all that does is cause a domino affect. When free radicals take from stable molecules, they leave the victim molecule unstable and therefore a free radical. Obviously, this sounds dangerous and rightly so. Free radicals have been linked to various diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Yowza.

So, the higher the burning point the lesser the chance of the fat turning into gas and letting off free radicals. When you remove the milk solids, the burning point goes up considerably. Butter has a burning point of about 300-350 degrees. Clarified Butter/Ghee has one of 375-485 degrees. See the difference? Yeah. Let's go make some Ghee!

Ghee or Clarified Butter

4 sticks of butter*
  1. Place all four sticks of butter in a big enough pot on the stove. 
  2. Turn heat on low.
  3. Simmer for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and all milk solids are floating on the top.
  4. Pour butter through mesh sieve, cheese cloth, or scoop out milk solids.
  5. Let cool completely.
  6. Keep on counter in glass jar or in fridge. Fridge will last much longer. 

*I like to make a big batch at once, but you could of course just use 1 stick and go from there.

Enjoy it as would you butter but without any free radicals or lactose. YUM! 


3. My kitchen. ; )

1 comment:

  1. This is fascinating! I've often wondered about the benefits of ghee and how to get some. Now that I've learned a lot and have a good recipe, I'm looking forward to making some!


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