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Ghee - The Whey Forward

Even though I love the flavour (to me it tastes like fudge), I have never properly understood the health benefits of ghee until I started reading a little about Ayurvedic eating, an ancient form of eating that promotes the cleansing, nurturing and healing properties of food. I’m a long way from being an expert but one of the important parts of Ayurvedic eating I’ve understood is the process that the food goes through before eating. This includes soaking, rinsing, even storing food and in the case of ghee, clarifying.

Ghee is a much more nutrient-rich, beneficially healthy and easily digestible product than butter because it has the whey removed through a simmering process. By separating the whey from the butter a much more digestible product is created. And because of this process it becomes much more stable for cooking and can be used at higher temperatures than butter (it’s the whey in butter which makes it burn).

Here are the benefits of eating ghee that I’ve learnt about:

  • It’s lactose free.

  • It’s a stable cooking oil.

  • It’s full of vitamins – A, E and K.

  • It contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which is a fatty acid associated with a range of health benefits. Some studies say these include lowering blood pressure, stopping the formation of cancer cells, reducing inflammation.

  • It contains butyrate which is a short-chain fatty acid that helps fight inflammation of the gut thus boosting the immune sytsem and can control insulin levels.

  • It can promote weight loss by burning other fats in our system.

I made my first ghee this week and it was surprisingly easy and enormously satisfying.

Here are the steps I followed:

  • Cut up the butter to help it melt more quickly and more evenly.

  • In a heavy bottom lid melt the butter on a medium heat.

  • While the butter bubbles, skim off the whey (NB don't waste the whey, it can be used in mashed potato)

  • Let the butter bubble and keep skimming until it starts to go brown at the bottom but not burnt.

  • Pour the liquid into a sterilised glass jar through a cheese cloth and leave to cool.

  • Once cool, pop it in the fridge. The ghee can last up to a year in the fridge.

Now I use ghee for:

  • Spreading on toast instead of butter.

  • Sauteing/frying.

  • Melting on top of potatoes and other vegetables.

  • Baking

So go make some quickly!! It’s a little pot of golden magic!

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