Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ghee for You, Ghee for Me

First off, don't believe the hype about saturated fats. You actually need some, and there are certain fatty acids in butter and coconut oil specifically that are anti-viral, anti-microbial, and generally just good for you. Ghee, for the uninitiated, is butter with the milk solids removed. The advantage of this is that the smoke point rises and the butter/ghee won't burn nearly as fast like olive oil or regular butter. Plus it tastes great. But enough talk- making ghee is easy, and the following will be more of a picture essay than a lot of words. I will inject some witty banter here and there, so don't you worry. First off, take a pound (four sticks, one box) of unsalted butter and add it to a pan over medium low heat.
Melt it slowly.

You will get some white foam that rises to the top. This is part of the milk solids. Skim them off the top with a spoon. You can keep the solids to spread on other stuff if you want, although I usually throw it away since I don't really eat bread or other stuff that I would be spreading mild solids on.
Once you get it skimmed, the butter will start to clarify (Ghee is sometimes called "clarified butter."). Keep cooking it on low/medium low to get it as clear as possible.

There will still be some solids on the bottom. Start watching them, and when they start to turn light brown it's time to strain. You can use a coffee filter if you have no fancy pants strainer. I have a fancy pants strainer, so that's what you see here.

I also have a glass jar to keep the finished product in. You can use whatever you want, but I prefer glass. Once your ghee cools you can store it a room temperature. Actually, I suggest that you do exactly that so your ghee will be soft and easy to use.

Once your ghee is solid it will turn a pale, beautiful yellow that you will now forever associate with the flavors of good eatin'. It's now time to saute something.