How to Make Ghee: An Ayurvedic Superfood
Ayurveda offers a number of superfoods that are revered for their unique healing properties and various uses. Of these Ayurvedic gifts, ghee is probably the most esteemed.
Ghee is butter whose water, lactose, and milk proteins (casein and whey) have been removed, leaving clarified butter. Ghee has a sweet, nutty taste and is considered to be a purified form of butter.
In addition to being used in cooking and food preparation, ghee plays an important role in Ayurvedic detoxification programs and herbal medicine. Ghee is also traditionally used in various panchakarma and clinical Ayurvedic body therapies, including abhyanga (warm oil massage) and netra tarpana (oil bath eye treatment).
Benefits of Ghee
Moisturizing & Lubricating
Ghee’s sweet taste and smooth, oily quality pacifies vata dosha making ghee helpful for decreasing dryness of the skin, joints, colon and other tissues of the body.
According to Ayurveda, ghee pacifies pitta dosha. Ghee is anti-inflammatory thanks to its free-radical-fighting antioxidants: vitamin A, vitamin E and beta-carotene.
Ghee also aids digestion by stoking agni, your digestive fire. One way it may do this is through its source of butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid known to support healthy digestion. (1)
Ojas is your overall immunity, vitality and ability to withstand stress. (2) It is thought to be the subtle essence form of kapha dosha. Ghee helps to build ojas in the body as long as your agni is strong enough to digest it. (3) For someone with low agni and too much kapha already in the body, ghee can be aggravating so it is only recommended for kapha-types in very small amounts.
How to Use Ghee
Cook with ghee
Ghee has a higher smoke point (485° F) than butter, coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil, so it can be used for cooking. However, low-heat cooking with ghee is still preferred.
Add after cooking
Add 1/2 tsp to your morning oatmeal or toast. Melt 1/4-1/2 tsp to steamed vegetables or over basmati rice. Again, while ghee is used internally for its health benefits, you still do not want to over consume it. As mentioned, too much ghee can aggravate kapha dosha leading to excess weight and sluggish digestion.
Use In Beauty Remedies & Body Therapies
Ghee is used in various beauty remedies and can be used to remove makeup and as a moisturizer. Some of my favorite beauty products containing ghee include Beauty Balm by Banyan Botanicals and Revitalizing Turmeric Cream by Pratima Skincare.
Where to Buy Ghee
Luckily, ghee has become much easier to find in the supermarket. You can even find it in various “flavors,” although I’m not a fan of that. Usually you will find jars of ghee either on the cooking oil and condiments aisle or in the international foods section. Unfortunately, I have often seen it alongside refrigerated butter (tsk! tsk!). Ghee should not be refrigerated and is thought to lose some of its medicinal properties when it is.
Despite the convenience of buying ghee, it is often quite expensive. Not only is it cheaper to make your own, but it is also rather easy to do so (especially once you get the hang of it). Whether or not you purchase ghee or make it yourself, be sure to get ghee made from organic, grass-fed butter (preferably cultured butter) in order for it to have all of the wonderful properties I shared above.
How to Make Ghee at Home
Try this recipe below. It may take you one or two tries to get the technique down, but don’t get discouraged. You’ll know you’ve got it once your completely cooled ghee looks golden, smooth and solid at room temperature rather than loose and grainy.
Ghee (Clarified Butter)
Prep & Cook Time: 30-40 min :: Makes: 8 oz.
- 2 sticks of unsalted organic, cultured butter from grass-fed cows
- Cheese cloth
- Mesh strainer
- Small or medium sized glass bowl or pyrex measuring cup
- Super clean (sterilized) glass jar with lid
- Medium sized saucepan
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Once melted, you’ll notice butter sputtering and bubbling. Turn heat down to low and allow to sputter and simmer for about 15 minutes. Watch closely around the 10-12 minute mark or as bubbling slows and the white milk solids start to turn a little golden and sink to the bottom of the pot. You know all of the water has evaporated and the ghee is done when you can hold a glass close over the ghee and you don’t see any steam appear on the glass.
Remove pot from heat, and allow ghee to cool in the pot for about 15 minutes as you prepare a mesh strainer lined with several layers of cheese cloth over a glass jar, bowl or, my preference, a large pyrex measuring bowl. Pour the ghee through the cheese cloth and strainer into the glass bowl, then transfer from the pyrex bowl into your clean jar and allow to cool further before screwing the lid on the jar.
Do not refrigerate. The ghee can rest on your countertop or in a cabinet. As long as it was prepared properly, the ghee can last weeks or even months, but you likely will have eaten up all its goodness by then. Enjoy!
© Copyright Tesia Love. www.tesialove.com
- Eyvazzadeh, A., MD, MPH. (2019, October 25). What Is Butyric Acid, and Does It Have Health Benefits? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/butyric-acid
- Lad, Vasant (2002). Textbook of Ayurveda: Fundamental Principles, Vol. 1, pp 208-209. The Ayurvedic Press.
- The Ayurvedic Institute. (n.d.). Ghee. Retrieved October 7, 2020, from https://www.ayurveda.com/recipes/ghee