What the Heck is Ghee?

27 Jan

On my CleanStart/Paleo bent, I keep seeing recipes that call for Ghee.  What the heck? On the Paleo Lifestyle dairy is a no-no, so essentially you are taking the milk solids out of butter.  Who knew?  Here it is…  df


D.I.Y. Ghee

I love ghee, and am ecstatic that it’s Whole9-approved for the latest version of the Whole30. Ghee — a traditional Indian preparation of clarified butter — has been one of my go-to fats for high-heat cooking ever since I went Paleo, and I use it to prepare everything from vegetable stir-frys to meaty stews. 

Yes, it’s cheaper and easier to get your hands on butter, and normally, if you’re okay with small amounts of full-fat dairy from grass-fed cows, more power to you. But if you’re on a Whole30, butter’s out. 

The solution? Buy some ghee, or make some yourself. It’s not hard to clarify some high-quality butter to remove all the potentially problematic milk solids — and infuse the delicious fat with a deep, nutty taste to boot. I promise you: The process is quick and painless, and you’ll end up with a yummy lactose- and casein-free cooking fat that’ll knock your socks off.

Here’s how to make a small batch (¾ cup) of ghee: 

Start with 1 cup of unsalted butter from grass fed cows. A number of supermarkets and specialty stores (including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and Costco) now stock Kerrygold butter, so don’t skimp out and get the crappy stuff from the gas station snack shop. Quality matters, remember?

Throw the butter into a medium saucepan over low heat, and melt it.

Once the butter’s melted, the clear fat will separate from the milk solids. Continue to simmer the butter gently.

Once it starts bubbling, you’ll know that the water’s cooking off.

Watch for the bubbles to gradually get smaller, until the surface of the butter resembles a foam. The milk solids will then start to brown, and some of the solids will clump together and cling to the sides of the pan.

Keep a close eye on the pan. Once the milk solids turn a deep golden brown and start falling to the bottom (about 8 to 10 minutes after the melted butter starts bubbling), remove the pan from the heat.

Strain the hot ghee through a triple layer of cheesecloth into a heat-safe bowl or measuring cup.

See all the nasty bits you just filtered out? Toss ‘em out.

Store the ghee in a sealed glass jar.

After the milk solids have been removed, you don’t need to refrigerate the ghee — but I recommend keeping your homemade ghee in the fridge to be on the safe side. 

Once it’s cold, the ghee will be opaque and silky-smooth — perfect for scooping out with a spoon and throwing into a hot skillet…

…or an oven-baked sweet potato.

Ghee isn’t difficult to make, and the ready-made stuff is a fantastic option, too — especially if you’re pressed for time and/or lazy. We’ve whipped up batches of our own ghee, but I also dig my big jar of Whole30-approved Pure Indian Foods’ organic grass-fed ghee.

No excuses, people: Get your ghee on.


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