Ghee is a type of clarified butter that originated from India around 3000 or 4000 years ago. This has remained virtually unchanged since its invention. Ghee is made from butter that is made from grass-fed cows’ milk. To this day, traditional ghee is still using the same production methods and raw materials, but only on a much larger scale. As a rule of thumb, all ghee is clarified butter, but not all clarified butter is ghee. The main difference is that ghee has a nuttier flavor than just regular clarified butter since ghee is simmered until the milk solids are brown before they are strained out. Clarified butter, on the other hand, has the solids strained out once the liquid component has evaporated out.
- Ghee has a very high smoke point, only second to safflower oil, which makes it the perfect oil to use for high heat frying applications.
- Vedic cooking has two categories, “pucca khana” which means food cooked in ghee, and “kacha khana” which means food not cooked in ghee.
- Ghee is still used in many Hindu religious ceremonies to this day.
- Due to the overproduction of butter in the 1950s, the United States tried to export ghee to India but failed to do so because of the many regional tastes and requirements that the different regions of India required for their ghee.
- Ghee is a popular butter substitute for individuals with lactose intolerance because all of the milk solids are removed during the creation of the ghee.
Ghee Buying Guide
Ghee is good for you, but not all ghee is good. Sound confusing? After reading through this, you’ll get what we meant by saying that not all ghee is good.
- Faux Ghee – This ghee isn’t actually ghee. While the label stating “vegetable ghee” or “vanaspati ghee” (sounds exotic, doesn’t it?) might be attractive, it’s not. This type of milk is made from partially (or fully) hydrogenated vegetable oils. One of the most common oils used for vegetable ghee is palm oil. For those in the know, palm oil is one of the biggest environmental issues nowadays because of the rainforest destruction that comes with palm oil production in many Asian countries.
- Spiced Ghee – As much as possible, you’ll want your ghee to be as pure as possible. Adding spice to your ghee not only limits your recipes to whatever the spices pair with but the spices may also be hiding some tastes or some visual problems with the ghee.
- Buffalo Ghee – While not exactly “bad” in a sense, ghee made from buffalo milk isn’t traditional. Some people will like the earthy taste of buffalo ghee, but it’s not exactly traditional and the buffalo ghee is usually cheaper to produce than traditional grass-fed cows’ milk.
So by now, you should have understood what we meant when we said that ghee is good for you, but not all ghee is good!
Ghee Production & Farming in Texas
There’s a lot of milk production in Texas so it’s not hard to find locally produced ghee. One good thing about locally produced Texas ghee is that these local producers rear their own milk-producing livestock. This means that local ghee is as close to traditional imported ghee from India as you can get without breaking the bank. Many local dairy producers are making ghee from butter made from grass-fed cows so, in essence, this is traditional ghee.
If you can’t find locally made ghee, then the next best thing to do would be to get locally made butter from grass-fed cows’ milk and make ghee yourself. There’s no shortage of grass-fed cows milk and butter in the state so getting the right butter for ghee shouldn’t be a problem. Do check out your local farmers’ markets and specialty stores first though as there is a big chance that you can find artisan ghee being sold in those places.
Preservatives, Additives, and Chemicals:
Since ghee in itself is made out of pure fat, it doesn’t need any preservatives to keep itself shelf-stable. The only thing you need to worry about when buying ghee is what we’ve listed earlier, getting substandard ghee.
Another thing to think about when getting ghee is that large-scale commercially produced ghee will have their milk sourced from large-scale commercial milking operations as well. This is not advisable as many studies have now shown that many antibiotics, chemicals, pesticides, and other bad stuff get passed down to the milk from the livestock that produces them. All the more reason to support your local dairy producer and ghee producer.
Since ghee is basically oil, it comes in a lot of packaging options. Most commercial ghee comes in tin cans (from India) and US-produced ghee usually comes in glass or plastic jars.
Artisan ghee is mostly packed in Mason jars which can be reused.
Ghee, how much do I love you, let me count the ways. Our favorite way to use ghee is to drizzle it over popcorn, but that’s just us. Ghee can also be used to sauté vegetables and other stir-fried dishes. Try to fry a sunny-side-up egg in ghee and you’ll start to wonder what you’ve been doing wrong all these years.
For those doing keto, you can add a dollop of ghee to your morning coffee to supercharge it. Of course, if you’re into cooking Indian food, then be sure to utilize the right amount of ghee to make your dish as authentic as possible.
Ghee can be stored at room temperature for three months (or even longer if you keep it airtight and in a dark and cool place. In the fridge, you can keep ghee for up to a year.
Make your own Ghee:
If you can’t find ghee, don’t worry. It doesn’t take a chef to make your own ghee. All you need is some good quality butter and some time and you can make ghee that is much better than any commercial variant.
Butter Made from the Milk of Grass-Fed Cows, at least two sticks (use more if you want to make more ghee)
Skimmer (a spoon or a slotted spoon will do)
Clean Glass Jars
Cheesecloth or Coffee Filter
In a heavy-bottomed pan, melt the butter over a low to medium temperature.
Once the butter is melted and is starting to bubble and separate, skim off the whey that floats to the top.
Continue to simmer until the butter turns clear (it’s clarified butter at this point).
Continue to simmer until the milk solids on the bottom of the pan start to turn brown. These browned bits give the ghee its nutty flavor.
Allow it to cool for a few minutes, but not until it solidifies. Strain the ghee through a cheesecloth or coffee filter and you now have your homemade ghee!