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Oct 19, 2018 BY Joy McCarthy

How To Make Ghee

—  found in  Food  —

I was first introduced to the idea of making my own ghee when I went to  nutrition school at IHN over a decade ago. I remember my teacher talking about ghee as a great option instead of butter for those who are sensitive to dairy because the milk proteins (casein and whey) are removed in the ghee-making-process, but I'd only ever thought of ghee as something tasty I'd enjoyed when having Indian food. 

Even though it seems that ghee is a trendy food, it has been around for thousands of years and usage dates back to 2000 B.C. originating somewhere in Asia and used in Ayurveda as a therapeutic food. In ancient India, ghee was the preferred cooking oil. Just like many other foods, ghee may have been created completely by accident, like many fermented foods. 

Many Ayurvedic preparations are made by cooking herbs into ghee. This is a great idea! Whether it's turmeric , rosemary, oregano or dried basil -- all herbs are powerful superfoods.

The benefit of this is that the phytonutrients present in these herbs will be more readily absorbed into the body in the presence of fat (aka nutrient synergy!)

This is common sense really when you think that every cell in your entire body has a lipid (fat) layer. Therefore, eating fat with phytonutrients enhances their delivery at a cellular level. 

Ghee has many health benefits and has been sadly demonized for decades due to its saturated fat content. However, consuming it moderately, as is the case when using ghee to make my Sticky Carrots or mixing it into your scrambled eggs, has well-researched health benefits.

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I've also made my Rustic Galette crust with ghee and it worked just as well as butter. Be sure to check out all the uses for ghee at the bottom of this post. I personally use ghee for 4 to 5 meals out of the week. My daughter Vienna loves it too!

GHEE NUTRITION

Ghee (especially when made from grass-fed butter) is a great source of fat soluble nutrients including vitamins A, D, E and K2. Vitamin K2, as I talk about in this video, is incredible for bone health. It helps your bones keep the calcium which is important because you don't want calcium floating around in your arteries. As I talk about in my video below, it's a rich source of butyrate which is an incredible anti-inflammatory substance for gut health and can help prevent colitis and Crohn's.

Let's get back to ghee-making! I make ghee when I find grass-fed butter on sale, but sometimes I purchase store-bought ghee too, especially when I don't feel like making it. If you're choosing between organic butter and grass-fed to make ghee, my preference is grass-fed because it's more nutrient-dense than grain-fed. The same goes for grass-fed beef when buying meat.

It's more expensive, for sure, but ideally, cows should be grazing on a pasture when there is grass available to eat, as opposed to eating 100% grains. Eating grains will produce more omega-6 fatty acids and eating more grass will produce more omega-3 fatty acids in the animal. If there is no grass-fed butter or meat available, then my second choice would always be organic. 

"Ghee" and "clarified butter" are often used interchangably but there is a slight difference.

Ghee is simply cooked a little longer than clarified butter and has a richer, more intense flavour than clarified butter. You know you've got ghee when you see the little brown bits on the bottom of your pot and it has a fragrant smell and rich flavour. I talk about this more in my video so you can know what to look for when you stat making it!

Don't be intimidated making your own ghee though. If you can melt butter, and you've got patience, you can make ghee! But I totally get it, if you don't want to spend 20-30 minutes at your stove, well then just buy store-bought. There's nothing wrong with that!

Just be careful when you start making ghee because it heats up quickly and you don't want to be boiling the crap out of the butter! You'll lose more of the nutrition that way. Sure, the water from the butter will evaporate quicker, but it should only take 20-30 minutes if you're making ghee on a medium-low temperature. 

Just a caution, if you are allergic or very sensitive to dairym then it's best to not eat ghee because you can't be sure that 100% of the casein and whey has been removed, even if you strain it 5 times!

Most importantly, here's the recipe!

Ingredients
  • Unsalted butter (250g)* preferably grass-fed or organic
Instructions
  1. Cut butter into small chunks. Place into a medium size stainless steel pot and melt butter on medium/ low temperature. Try not to let the butter boil, but keep it as hot as possible without bubbling up.
  2. As the butter melts, the white stuff (whey) rises to the top. Using a spoon, scrape off the whey into a bowl. Continue to do this for 10 - 15 minutes.
  3. Once most of the whey has been scraped off, after about 10 minutes or so, the butter starts to become clear. This is when you have clarified butter but you're not there yet! Just another step to get to ghee.
  4. Keep the clarified butter hot, continue spooning off the whey and wait until some of the milk fat starts to brown on the bottom of the pot. This is key to a rich tasting, nutty, butterscotch-y ghee!
  5. Once you've got the brown bits on the bottom of the pot, you've got ghee. Let it cook for a few minutes to soak up that flavour. The ghee is now nice and fragrant.
  6. Using a wire mesh strainer or nut bag, strain the ghee through to remove any final bits of milk proteins. You can pour it straight into a mason jar. Let cool completely and then store in freezer indefinitely. ENJOY!

Notes

*250g of butter, yields 1 cup of ghee. If you use more butter, you'll have more ghee!

The whole process to make ghee takes 20-30 minutes. Please read all the instructions before you begin to make the process run smoother. I recommend using a stainless steel pot so you can clearly see the bottom of your pan and can easily determine when you've got ghee because you'll see the little brown bits at the bottom.

There are many delicious ways to enjoy ghee.

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How to store ghee

Ghee can be stored in the kitchen cupboard away from sunlight for up to 3 months. I typically store it in the fridge though because then it lasts up to a year. It gets harder in the fridge of course, but softens up pretty quickly. It can start to crystallize at the top, but this is normal – no need for concern. It sometimes has a grainy texture when you make it yourself – also normal, so not to worry :).

If you have any questions, please post below. Happy Ghee-making!

xo Joy

Oct 19, 2018 BY Joy McCarthy
24 Comments
Heather   •   October 23, 2018

Thank you for this recipe Joy. I am on a ketogenic diet since the beginning of August and many recipes mention the use of ghee. Will definitely try making this for future use. Have been following you and really enjoy your recipes and blogs...

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   October 23, 2018

Jamie   •   October 23, 2018

A suggestion for a much easier way to make ghee I learned from a French master chef. Place the butter into a plastic bag then into a pot of water to melt. Once melted put into refrigerator. When butter becomes hard the milk substantance remains liquid. Simply cut a corner of the plastic bag the milk liquid will drain out leaving you ghee. You may need to scrap more milk produce off the hard butter but it will be minimal. Give it a try.

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   October 23, 2018

Anusha   •   October 23, 2018

I am an Ayurveda doctor and you mentioning it here made my day! Adding to all this, ghee is great brain food! In Ayurveda, herbs are added to ghee with water and boiled, that way all the water and lipid soluble extractives go into the ghee and make it a very potent medicine. P.S. The brown bits taste yummy with a little bit of sugar.

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   October 23, 2018

Maria   •   October 23, 2018

Question-if you had your gallbladder removed, would you consider this a healthy fat?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   October 23, 2018

Sherry C.   •   October 23, 2018

Since I retired, 20-30 minutes is nothing to me, and making my own ghee is much more economical (about 1/3 to 1/2 the cost) than buying it pre-made. I have some of that in my long-term storage pantry, but would love to make my own to use in recipes calling for butter. Since my vegetable garden was destroyed by parasitic nematodes this year, my canning jars are just sitting idle anyway...

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Joy McCarthy   •   October 23, 2018

Nancy   •   October 23, 2018

I once read the ghee smells quite horrible.....is that true? I’ve never tried it - interested, but a bit scared if true.

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Joy McCarthy   •   October 23, 2018

Karen   •   October 23, 2018

Thanks! Had no idea it was so easy. I read a few recipes that said it should cook for a long time so I thought it was a tedious process.

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   October 23, 2018

Jo-Ann   •   October 23, 2018

Hi there wondering about a healthy pots and pans.......what brand do you use :)

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   October 23, 2018

Irma   •   October 24, 2018

Thank you for clarifying use of ghee. Recently started using it. At some point I am going to try to make it. Thank you Joy😊

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   October 24, 2018

Karin   •   October 24, 2018

Thanks for sharing this great ghee recipe. I like the info about the brown bits as I think I may have made clarified butter only 😊. I used to work at a theatre and I’m remembering the bubbling butter that was probably turned into ghee and takes delicious on popcorn. Quick questions - how shall I add the herbs to the ghee? Thanks!

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Joy McCarthy   •   October 24, 2018

Diane   •   October 29, 2018

Is ghee healthy when you have heart problems ?

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   October 30, 2018

Nicole   •   November 2, 2018

I made this today and it turned out just right! Thank you! I was apprehensive at first, worrying I'd do something wrong (I'm still afraid to make sauerkraut, thinking I might do something wrong and get everyone sick!). Your youtube video of this recipe was just the push I needed to try it. I didn't have the heat high enough at first, so it took just a little longer but I was patient and watched for those browned bits and was it ever worth the wait! Thank you again!

Reply
Joy McCarthy   •   November 3, 2018

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