I grew up in a home where butter was eaten by the sticks. My mom, insisting that I needed to eat it too, used to sneak it on freshly baked bread, beneath a layer of jam. Never worked out. I had a radar for butter. If I detected even the slightest hint of it, I would stop eating. My mom on the other hand could eat an entire stick per slice of bread. In fact, I'm fairly certain everyone in my Romanian family could. I was the odd ball.
It took me a long time to start appreciating butter. It wasn't until I started cooking that I gained a deep respect for the taste. I realized, something as delicious as scallops, don't quite reach their potential without butter. These are times when my beloved olive oil just doesn't quite cut it.
But the dilemma is that I'm not eating dairy. So what's the alternative? Ghee, I wonder?? Sorry, it was too tempting. But yes indeed. Ghee.
Ghee is clarified butter that's widely used in Indian cooking and in the majority of Southeast and Middle Eastern Countries. It is also used in Ayurveda for medicinal purposes.
Unlike olive oil, coconut oil or butter, ghee has a high smoke point (450-485°F) so it holds up well in cooking at high heat. Tasting a little nuttier than butter, it provides all the flavor of butter with none of the casein. This is particularly good for individuals who are lactose intolerant or have a casein sensitivity.
Additionally there are numerous health benefits to consuming ghee on a regular basis.
It's good for gut health as it contains butyrate, a short chain fatty acid, which has shown to reduce inflammation. It also helps heal the gut lining, making it particularly beneficial for those suffering from IBS, IBD, Autoimmune disease, Crohn's and other digestive issues. Ghee is rich in fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and especially K, which is essential for building strong bones and combating heart disease, aside from its commonly known role in blood clotting.
The other interesting thing about ghee that's made from grass fed butter is that it and contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA), which in preliminary studies has shown to assist with insulin resistance and also quite possibly fight cancer. The jury is still out on CLA but research thus far has been promising.
So the next time you find yourself wanting to buy a $9 tub of ghee, just buy some pastured butter and follow these directions.
prep time: 1 minute
cooking time: 10 minutes
yields: two 4 oz jars
1 lb grass fed butter
small sauce pan
cheese cloth (gauze could work too)
In a small sauce pan, melt butter over low heat. Let it simmer for 10 minutes and remove from heat. By simmering the butter, the milk solids will naturally separate and you will be left with a golden liquid. Let stand for 1 minute.
Meanwhile prepare the strainer with a double layer of cheese cloth draped over it. Strain the liquid in a storage container and keep in the fridge or at room temperature. At room temperature, it will keep for several months, but I prefer to keep mine in the refrigerator.