Updated: Jun 9
There is an ancient proverb in Sindhi that goes “Jeko kare ghee, so na kare ma-pii!” Translated, it means – what ghee can do for you, even your mother and father can’t!
People who are afraid of butter (or fats in general) might not get this but the fact of the matter is, that it has been scientifically proven to be a beneficial food. In fact, Ghee is a superfood - there I said it.
Let's get this pet peeve of mine out of the way: Many people (most even) think that clarified butter is the same as ghee. Indeed, they are VERY similar. On the surface level, this is understandable and they often are used interchangeably in recipes. Butter consists of three things: butterfat, milk solids, and water. Clarified butter is made from evaporating the water and the removal of milk solids. Ghee takes it further where the milk fats have begun to caramelize and then are removed. This is what gives it that wonderful nutty flavor and deep golden color.
Now for some benefits (which are far greater than what is listed here):
Ghee contains medium chain fatty acids which are absorbed right into the liver to use immediately. It’s a very efficient and beneficial source of energy (vs carbs). Because ghee is so well absorbed in the digestional tract, it aids in the absorption of plant medicines (spices/herbs/healing foods).
Ghee is protective against cancer, plaque buildup and diabetes as it is full of the fatty acid CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).
Ghee is rich in butyric acid (from the greek word for butter), an important short chain fatty acid that is extremely curative to the digestion. Humans convert fiber into butyric acid so consuming it aids digestion.
Ghee produces killer T cells in the gut
Ghee is loaded with the coveted pregnancy Vitamin K2. It’s full of our favorite fellow fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, as well as K. It’s got your Omega 3s too.
Ghee has a high smoke point which means that it does not burn easily. Why is this important? Burning foods create carcinogens and dreaded free radicals.
Ghee is an absolute staple in our daily life - you don't need to be in your Fourth Trimester to benefit from it. We make BIG batches of it and leave on the counter as it doesn't need refrigeration. That being said, it is TREMENDOUS for a new Mama - she needs all the above it spades to help her depleted body. If you can bring her ghee to top on anything and everything, she will be in a more healthful and satiated place than before.
It's pretty limitless in use but sourcing matters. Organic, grass-fed (pasture raised) unsalted. You can certainly use it in place of butter including in your recipes. But consider putting it on top of your oatmeal or add it to the top of your soups, stews and porridges. Add a pinch of salt if you prefer salted butter generally. Ghee flavored everything is wonderful as it tastes of butter with a gentle nutty, deeper flavor.
The method is pretty straightforward and isn't a highly guarded secret. You can do it on the stove top but I prefer the Instant Pot even though it's never sealed or pressurized. Here is my Instant Pot method for ghee.
Place Butter (Organic, Pasture Raised, Unsalted) in IP insert pan.
Use saute function and begin to heat. The total time on saute is approximately 9 - 13 minutes depending on the temp of butter when you begin.
Stir gently as it gets bubbling. You will see the white rise to the surface. This is what is skimmed off to make clarified butter (but you are going one step beyond that). Keep skimming as you go - I use a very fine mesh utensil to skim instead of cheesecloth which I find messy and not as effective.
You will notice that the steam coming off the butter will stop as the water in the butter is evaporating. You will also notice the bottom solid bits begin to brown, keep gently stirring and TURN OFF saute function.
Let sit in pot for a couple of minutes as it finishes browning and keep skimming the top.
After a few minutes, carefully pour mixture through the fine mesh utensil (or cheesecloth) into a jar to capture all of the brown bits (some people keep the brown bits and cook with them as they are quite tasty).
Leave to cool and store covered in jar. Use liberally (even on your body!)
Not too hard! People buy this in the store but I don't really see that it's worth the expense generally when it's pretty easy to make. Also great to infuse with but that's another post for another day! :)