After Laila was born, my mother in law had come to help us and made us some ghee when we ran out of the ghee my mother had previously made. It was part of the healing remedies they both had for me, and for some of the Ayurvedic recipes they had made for my breast milk production. When Laila started eating table food, I incorporated it into some of her foods instead of butter and she absolutely loves it. There is an ancient Hindu story of baby Krishna eating ghee out of a pot he pulled down and his mother finding him on the floor eating it and as happy as can be. Laila is my real life baby Krishna when it comes to ghee…and I guess so much more 😉
What is ghee?
Essentially it is a form of butter that is an integral part of traditional Indian cuisine and in Ayurveda. It is clarified butter, which means that the water and milk solids, (which is mostly protein), have been boiled off, leaving just the rich, golden butter-fat. It’s free of casein, so if you are intolerant to butter this can be a great choice, plus it is a healthy alternative to canola oil. It can be heated at high temperature because it remains stable. It increases absorption of other nutrients from food and can actually balance lipid levels. For kids, it promotes memory and learning since it’s a healthy fat, (my friend has a running joke and says ghee is why indians are so smart haha). In Ayurveda, it strengthens the immune system and helps acid reflux, ulcers and other digestive problems. It also tastes great. Growing up, if our tummies hurt, we often would had plain basmati rice, ghee and a banana, (which Laila loves) and it stayed down. Of course, like anything fatty, even the good fats, it is important to eat it in moderation and as a part of a healthy lifestyle, (so deep-frying samosas in ghee is not healthy).
We recently ran out of the ghee my mother in law made, (because I also use to light our deevo lamp), and it was time for me to make my own. I decided to make it organic, and see if there was a difference. Mine and my husband’s parents often lovingly chastise us about how we are obsessed with organic eating, and while they all have incorporated some of our philosophy on organic/non-GMO eating, mostly, they don’t cook with all organic ingredients so they don’t make their ghee with organic or grass-fed butter, but they do try to do what they can in what they are used to.
Why that’s important:
I learned from research that organic dairy is thought to be less contaminated by pollutants and toxins and grass-fed dairy is primarily praised for a better micro-nutrient profile, including much higher levels of CLA, better Omega-3 to Omega-6 fatty acid ratios and dramatically higher levels of Vitamin A and E. And grass-fed dairy cows, like grass-fed beef cows, graze only on pasture and dried forage and are therefore are not getting any added toxic chemicals in their diet or feeding on any non-nutritional corn or soy.
When I was through making it, there clearly was a taste difference. It just tasted richer and more flavorful.
Here is how to make organic or grass-fed ghee in 4 easy steps…and let me know if you try it out!
Melt two to three sticks of organic or grass-fed butter over low heat in a large pot.
As the butter melts, you will see the white milk solids begin to rise to the top. Then, the butter will begin to bubble. Make sure to stand away from the pot, just in case it splatters slightly. The butter will start to turn slightly darker and eventually stop bubbling, which happens in about 20-25 minutes. Be sure not to burn the butter. Mix it with a wooden spoon and skim some of the solids out with a small strainer.
Set a piece of cheese cloth over a sieve or rubber-band it over a bowl. If you use a sieve, place it over a bowl and pour the melted butter through the sieve/cheese cloth. The milk solids will remain in the cheese cloth. Discard them.
Place the golden ghee in a glass jar and let it cool. Once cooled, always store it in a dark, cool place. It will last for months, if you don’t use it all up first!