What is Ghee?
Ayurveda (an ancient system of preventative health care and medical treatment) uses ghee externally and internally for food, medicine and skin care. Traditionally, it is said to increase medicinal benefits as it ages (called puran ghee). Ghee is butter with the milk solids and water removed. This in turn has a higher smoke point and is great for cooking. It is used in a variety of both sweet and savory dishes.
What are the health benefits?
Ghee is rich in phenolic antioxidants and contains several fatty acids. It can also enhance digestion, promote weight loss, improve eyesight, enhance ones complexion, nourish the skin, as well as build nerve and brain tissue. This also decreases inflammation and can lower cholesterol and triglycerides. In Ayurveda, ghee is used to treat alcoholism, fever, vaginal pain, infertility and problems with pregnancy. Yoga practitioners also say this has been known to promote flexibly!
Not only is ghee consumed internally, it can be applied topically to our biggest organ, the SKIN! It makes a great moisturizer for sensitive skin. You can also mix with honey for applications on wounds and blisters.
Ghee vs. Butter
Ghee is similar to clarified butter and they have the same healing properties. However, ghee is warm and light, making it more digestible; where butter is cold and heavy, and contains lactose and casein.
We especially use ghee to cook with, added to foods such as toast and rice. Ghee can also be used in place of butter. Mix 1-2 tsp into your coffee in the morning for a delicious flavor, to help cut down on the acidity and help reduce inflammation.
Can I make this at home?
Yes, and it is easy! Nowadays most commercial ghee is made with non-cultured butter, but for a healthier and traditional method use 1-2 lbs of organic, cultured, unsalted butter.
· Place in a saucepan on the stove top.
· Melt at low-medium heat until white curds separate and sink to the bottom (approx. 20-40 mins). Tip: scrape the bottom of the pan with a metal spoon and if dark particles stick to the spoon it’s done.
· Next, strain with a cheese cloth and discard the solids.
· Store in a clean jar.
As long as it’s clean and water free, there’s no need for refrigeration.
Once you have mastered the process, try infusing herbs in a batch (my favorite is adding rosemary)!