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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Making Ghee

The results of my recent poll showed: 60% of those responding (63) used butter for cooking, baking and eating; 11% used margarine only; 22% used both and 6% used neither. Butter brings a rich flavour that just can't be duplicated. I'd rather reduce the amount of butter used to get that flavour than use margarine, something I don't buy.


Boiling

Ghee is clarified butter with the water and milk solids rendered out. It is traditionally used in Indian cuisine. Ghee can be substituted for butter when baking but may affect the recipe's outcome. It is higher in saturated fat so can be substituted with corn oil or vegetable oil which will affect the flavour of the recipe. Ghee has a higher smoke point making it ideal for sauteing and because the milk solids have been removed, it is well tolerated by those with lactose intolerance. Ghee is very easy to make using unsalted butter.

Bring 1/2 lb of butter to a full rolling boil over medium heat while stirring to prevent burning. Reduce the heat to low and allow the butter to simmer slowly.


Simmering

As the butter simmers, the water will evaporate off, the milk solids and proteins will rise to the surface. Allow the butter to slowly simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly pour through a fine mesh strainer. Pour the strained liquid through another strainer lined with a double layer of cheese cloth. Pour the strained liquid into a sealable jar.

In the Jar

I poured the strained ghee into a 250 ml mason* jar. After cooling to room temperature, the jar was placed in the refrigerator because I knew I would not be using it right away. Ghee is easier to use at room temperature and because the proteins and milk solids have been removed does not need to be refrigerated.

Ghee enriches the flavours of both sweet and savory foods. It can be used in much the same way as other oils but because of the higher smoke point you can use higher temperatures when frying. Give ghee a try. I think you will be pleasantly pleased with the results.

* Please note:
This is not canned butter. I know recipes are floating around on the world wide web for canning butter. These are not shelf stable and must be refrigerated!


4 food lovers commented:

Anonymous said...

I'd only use butter or ghee, ideally from a grass-fed cow or goat. I just searched and found that ghee does contain CLA (from grass-fed ruminants). I will NEVER use margarine because to me it's just as bad as Crisco with the hydrogenated/trans-fatty acids.

Darlene said...

Love your site! My parents canned every summer and store bought just cannot compare with the taste home canned. I have not canned since my children were small and can't remember how I did it. Now that I have found your site I can start again with your help. Many thanks and God bless.

Garden Gnome said...

Information for Readers: CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is a naturally occuring isomer found in high levels in milk products from grass fed cows. CLA is a fatty acid that has been shown to decrease the risk for breast cancer. It is found almost exclusively in animal products and according to research is one of the most potent anti-carcinogens. So CLA is a good thing and since organic butter contains higher levels of CLA, it is better for you than margarine. As with any food, moderation is the key.

Butter, in my opinion, is a natural product that when used in moderation far outweighs other fats like margarine and Crisco. While we do not use margarine, I have used Crisco (shortening) and lard (animal fat) for making pie crusts and baking. Now any fat should be chosen on the basis of what it contributes to the final product. In general, fats like olive oils contribute moisture and flavour to baked products like breads. Butter and ghee contribute flavour and moisture while some recipes require the burst of moisture release for proper rising so butter is a must in these recipes. Crisco can give reliable pastry results (a flakey pie crust) but does not add any flavour. Lard will give a bit of flavour and a flakier pie crust. Again in moderation, choose the best fat for the recipe.

Garden Gnome said...

Thanks Darlene! I'm flattered to hear my blog will help you get back into canning. I just know you will enjoy it as you fill your pantry with a lot of wonderful tasting homemade goodies. Please let me know what can.

Take care,