Ghee has gained a lot of popularity in the last years, and for good reason. Ghee is healthier than butter, it’s smoking point is higher, and it lacks lactose.
But is ghee healthy?
While it is essentially butter, it isn’t quite butter. It’s clarified butter…but better. Tastier.
It becomes more healthy.
Milk proteins are absent from Ghee (that’s great news if you’re lactose intolerent). Water is also removed, leaving behind only pure fat.
It’s also great for those interested in the Paleo diet due to its health benefits and lack of dairy. It is also beneficial for people who can’t eat dairy, or are casein sensitive. Unlike butter, ghee doesn’t have lactose or casein.
What is ghee?
Ghee is a form of clarified butter. It’s the child of the simple process of removing the milk proteins and water content from unsalted butter. The result is pure butterfat: ghee.
Originally from India, it’s considered a therapeutic agent in Ayurveda medicine (a traditional Hindu system of holistic medicine). It is also widely used in Indian cuisine, and now much of the Western world has adopted ghee.
Is Ghee Healthy?
Ghee is associated with many health benefits! Including:
Studies link ghee to anti-inflammatory activity in the body. According to the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, ghee can inhibit the release of histamine, serotonin, and kinins. It can also slow down prostaglandin release. All of these are causes of inflammation.
What we’re really saying is what you’d hoped we were. YES. Ghee can be applied directly to the skin to treat burns and reduce inflammation.
Ghee doesn’t contain lactose or casein. These milk proteins are mostly removed during the butter clarification process. So, it’s safe to eat if you’re lactose or casein intolerant. Or both!
Ghee contains fat-soluble vitamins. It is rich in vitamins A, E and K. These antioxidants are important for healthy immune function, cell growth, and eye health.
And, these vitamins promote clear skin and are believed to reduce the risk of some cancers.
Aids in Digestion
It’s a great source of butyric acid (butyrate). Butyric acid is a by-product of gut bacteria. It’s linked to an immune system response that helps reduce colon inflammation and improves the digestive system.
Ghee vs butter
Ghee is a healthier option for cooking than butter.
It has a higher smoking point (482 F / 250 C) than butter.
This means that it burns at a higher temperature than butter and even than most oils. This helps us avoid carcinogenic elements we usually consume when we accidentally burn butter.
Forget the refrigerator, too.
Ghee doesn’t need to be refrigerated. It can be stored for up to three months in an airtight container, whereas butter needs to be refrigerated and only keeps for a month.
Because butter is high in saturated fats, it increases blood cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels cause atherosclerosis which can lead to heart disease.
Even though ghee has high levels of cholesterol and saturated fat, it’s been proven to lower cholesterol.
Studies show it actually has protective effects on the liver.
It should be noted that these beneficial effects were because of the amount in the diet, however. The study concluded that a 10% ghee-supplemented diet can be recommended without ill conscience.
Nutritional Content of Ghee
In 100g of ghee, there is:
Total fat 99.5g ( 153% DV)
Saturated fat 61.9 g (310% DV)
Monounsaturated fat 28.7 g
Polyunsaturated fat 3.7 g
Trans fat 4 g
Omega 3 1447 mg
Omega 6 2247 mg
How to make Ghee at Home
- 1 lb (500g) Unsalted Butter
- Skillet with high sides
- Fine Mesh Skimmer
- Fine Mesh strainer or Cheesecloth
- Dry glass container or Jar for storage
- Heat a wide-bottomed pot with high sides over medium-low heat. Once hot, add butter.
- Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir the butter and speed along the melting process.
- Once butter is completely melted and begins to bubble, very slightly lower the heat. You want a steady bubble. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until the milk protein has completely separated. You’ll see a frothy layer on the top and bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Begin carefully skimming the frothy top layer off until Ghee looks clean (except for the milk bits on the very bottom). Discard the froth.
- Slightly raise the heat back up to medium low and continue cooking another 5 to 10 minutes until most of the bubbling stops and the milk protein bits on the bottom of the pan begin to brown. Do not let them burn! Immediately remove the Ghee from the stove top and set somewhere to cool
- Once cool, strain through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Discard the toasted bits from the bottom of the pan. Store Ghee at room temperature in a glass container or jar and use as needed
Take note: when the water evaporates and the fat separates from the milk solids, you’ve made clarified butter.
Ghee is slightly different than clarified butter.
It requires cooking at a low heat a little longer. This allows it to caramelize slightly and imprint a pleasant hazelnut scent.