Ghee! Another golden delight! But this time it's not because there's turmeric in there ;)
Ghee is an absolute staple of Ayurvedic diet and medicine for a few reasons. One, it's considered an auspicious substance that nourishes the life force within us. It comes from cows' milk, and cows themselves are considered sacred animals and auspicious in nature. Herbs are often given mixed with ghee, as the specific fats in the ghee carry the herbs deep into the tissues of the body, allowing for better absorption. When the body is dry and Vata is high, ghee is considered the best thing for internal oliation. And from a more clinical perspective, there have also been studies that show ghee to aid the body in ridding itself of cancerous cells.
Ghee is often referred to as clarified butter, but they're not the same thing- clarified butter is like ghee in it's first stage...not fully formed ghee. When we make ghee, we cook butter until all the milk solids are separated from it AND all the water has evaporated from it, so all we have left is the pure ghee. Clarified butter has had the milk solids removed, but still has water in it. Ghee can keep for a long long time, while clarified butter will have a much shorter shelf-life because of the remaining H2O.
So, let's make some ghee!
You'll need :
1 lb or 400g of pure unsalted, unflavored, and uncolored butter (it's white, not yellow)
That's it for ingredients! As far as your tools go, you'll need
A fine metal strainer (optional)
A cheese cloth, or a paper or cotton coffee filter
A large spoon to skim the top
1. Cut your butter up into smaller cubes and put in a small thick-bottomed saucepan
2. Heat the butter uncovered on low heat
3. The butter will come to a boil, and a foam will form on the top. Use the spoon to skim and removed the foam, stirring occasionally.
4. Once your ghee is golden and translucent, with no more foam forming, and a layer of white stuff on the bottom, remove it from heat and allow to cool 3-5 minutes. (You don't want the white stuff on the bottom to turn brown- those are milk solids, and if they burn they'll ruin your ghee)
5. Strain your ghee through the fine metal sieve first, and then once more through the coffee filter or cheese cloth, or you can just go straight to the filter/cloth. You just want to be sure to get out all the milk solids.
6. Store it in a clean, dry, airtight glass jar either on the counter or in the fridge! If you take care not to let any water into the jar, it's safe on the counter. But if you're wary of leaving it out, simply store it in the fridge- it'll keep for months!
Ghee is indeed a wonderful thing, but it is still a fat...and nourishing though it may be, we know that too much of any good thing can become a bad thing! So please don't go putting ghee on and in everything you eat and drink, just maybe replace your regular butter use with it, and use it instead of an oil sometimes in your cooking.
Iiiiiif time is not something that you have a lot of, and making your own ghee really isn't available to you, you can also most definitely stop by your local Indian or Halal market, and just pick some up there. Or even easier, you can order it! Here's my favorite go-to ghee when I'm out of both ghee, and time.