How to make Ghee: simple, cheap, delicious!
My first ghee experience was with my Key West friend Hansa. OMG, I had to learn how to make ghee!!!
This clear, oily, buttery condiment is served with every meal for the naan.
I may have mentioned that when I'm in Key West, I somehow always find myself around her neck of woods at lunchtime. It's uncanny. I don't think I land there on purpose... it's subconscious, really.
I just know that, if you'd ever eaten at Hansa's, trust me, you'd slink around there, too. She's a fantastic cook and, oh my goodness, the smells, the spices, the flavors. I could move right in. (I think her family was afraid I might!)
The Mysterious Golden Liquid
On one of my first visits, she brushed a mysterious golden oily liquid from a silvery container onto my homemade naan. (Just so you know, everything at Hansa's house is mysterious.) It was soooo delicious.
As usual, I asked her what I was eating and, as usual, she looked at me like I just landed from the moon. "Ghee," she replied. When I stared at her blankly (as usual), she said, "Butter."
She keeps forgetting I'm a girl from fried-chicken-and-mashed-potatoes country living (at that time) on a bacon-egg-and-cheese-on-Cuban-toast island. How would I know from "ghee"?
Hansa always has ghee to go with the naan to scoop up the chickpeas and spinach and soups and chutneys and yogurts and pickles... I can never remember what the actual names of any of the foods are. I just know I can't stay away from it! I must have been Indian in a former life. Gotta be. Thank you, Hansa, for introducing me to ghee. I am forever grateful.
Imagine my delight, when we went off to Costa Rica and stumbled onto the WAPF way of eating, to discover that Dr. Price deems butter a superfood. Perfecto! I started making ghee immediately, and it couldn't be easier.
Ghee is great for cooking because, since there are no milk solids to burn, it has a higher smoking point than butter and doesn't allow food to stick quite as much. Cook with it, eat it on toast, in oatmeal, butter coffee, anything really. When we have ghee around, we almost never eat plain butter! We ❤❤❤ the flavor! Yummy.
Here's How to Make Ghee
Put two pounds of salted or unsalted butter in a saucepan.
We use raw butter because we have a local farmer who makes it for us -- so good!!! If we didn't have that, we'd use the highest quality butter we could get!
Melt the butter on medium high heat. When it starts bubbling, turn it down to low (2.2 is the setting on my stove). Simmer till the top gets crusty and the butter is no longer yellow, but golden. You can even let it go till it gets a little toasty brownish. That's how I like it, really.
On our stove, this takes 40 minutes to an hour. I set my timer for 15 minute intervals and check it often.
Below are the cooked milk solids in the bottom of the pan, all of which you are discarding. The left picture is the bottom of a pan after the ghee is cooked "enough". The right photo is how I like mine: cooked more than enough, lol! I like it "burned" or toasty!
Once it's cooked and still hot, I strain into a quart canning jar and let it cool.
I've been thru 3 ways to strain and coffee sock (the last one) is by far the best! You want to strain it right away because cold butter is solid and won't strain. Most people know this but... guess how I know?
I used to strain thru a coffee filter. Since all the butter won't fit in the filter at one time, this requires standing and pouring while it strains. And it strains slowly.
Then I began using a muslin bag -- this is the one I have which works great if you already have one. I don't use it for ghee anymore but I still use mine for my Instant Pot Yogurt.
However, for ghee, I now use a cotton coffee sock which is the perfect size and SO EASY!
With a bag/sock, you pour all at once, no standing and waiting which is lovely. Once all the ghee is in the jar, slowly lift the sock out while the ghee drains into the jar. I have a little bungie on a cabinet door to hang the sock till all the good is out of the bag. I hang and come back later to clean it up.
To clean the sock, I turn it inside out and scrape off the heavy stuff into the trash or give to the chickens. Then I use hot water and soap in the sink to get the next layer off, then toss in the washer with the towels.
BE CAREFUL. Boiling butter is freaking HOT!!!! Haha, ironically, the best thing for a burn is cold butter.
I used to put the canning jar into an extra pan while pouring just in case the canning jar broke. I'm just paranoid: these canning jars are made to be boiled so the chance of breakage is slim to none. And I've never broken one.
What you have left after straining is pure butter oil, ghee, the superfood fat! We leave it on the counter all the time. In a hot kitchen, it will stay liquid; in cooler climes, it hardens just like butter.
And always with a lid. Turns out flies like ghee, too! I use the inside of a metal lid, easy!
A quart lasts us about a month.
Is it Clarified or Is it Ghee?
Lots of sites equate ghee and clarified butter. But, to me, clarified butter is just melted butter so you can dip your lobster in it :-)
According to my co-WAPF chapter leaders, ghee is clarified butter cooked longer so the milk solids begin to caramelize and can be strained out. It also has a longer shelf life.
In Ayurvedic practices, ghee is considered healthier than butter. It's used as a digestive aid.