What is Ghee and What Are Its Benefits?

What is Ghee?

Ghee is a traditional invention that takes its roots from ancient India. It has been a part of both Pakistan and Indian cultures for thousands of years. The word Ghee is a part of Sanskrit meaning sprinkled and was created to preserve butter from spoiling during warm weather. It is a refined form of butter and is more concentrated as its water and milk proteins are removed. It is made by melting and straining butter. It can be swapped for vegetable oil for cooking, frying, and baking purposes. 

Difference between Ghee and Butter 

Ghee and butter are two distinct products. Ghee is a clarified form of butter whereas butter is a solid emulsion of fat, inorganic salts, and water, produced by whisking the cream from cow’s milk. Ghee has a higher smoke point and concentration of fats as compared with butter. Butter has a rich creamy and sublime flavor and a slightly acidic nature. However, they are both derived from cow’s milk and have similar nutritional and fat content. Nonetheless, ghee is better for people with lactose intolerance as it contains reduced milk proteins. 

How to make Ghee?

It is very easy to make this divine and delicious commodity. 

Step 1: Let the butter melt 

Yes, it is that simple! Cut the butter into pieces and add it into a pan/skillet and let it melt on low flame.

Step 2: Remove the separated solids

Soon after the butter starts to melt, it simmers and begins to separate the milk proteins which rise on the surface, from the fat and water. Gently remove the separated proteins using either a cheesecloth or a spoon and discard.

Step 3: Let the remaining solids sink 

After the removal of the proteins from the surface, you will observe some of the solids lingering at the bottom. Do not remove them so that they can be further melted and darken in color.

Step 4: Turn the butter brown! 

This is a crucial step. Continue to melt the butter, it will quickly change its color from golden to brown, The trick is to keep a thorough eye on the butter as it barely takes a second to burn at this stage. Turn off the heat as soon as you observe the color change. 

Step 5: Strain!

This is the last step. Simply just allow the melted butter to cool down a bit. Then pour it into a heat-proof container using a cheesecloth covered over a strainer and your Ghee is ready! 

The entire process is effortless and requires only butter. It takes about 40 to 60 minutes to prepare homemade ghee. 

Flavor of Ghee 

Since it is made from butter, it also tastes like butter but with the added roasted and nutty flavor! 

Storage of Ghee 

When stored appropriately ghee can be preserved for a  very long period of time. To prevent it from spoiling, ghee is kept in an airtight container at room temperature away from sunlight. It has a longer shelf life than butter.

Nutrients Present in Ghee 

Nutritional information per 1 tablespoon:

  1. Energy: 112 Kilocalories  
  2. Fat: 12.73 grams 
  3. Saturated : 7.92 grams 
  4. Mono Unsaturated: 3.67 grams 
  5. Poly unsaturated : 0.437 grams 
  6. Proteins: 0.04 grams 
  7. Potassium: 1 milligrams

Uses of Ghee 

Ghee is popularly used in cuisines from the Middle East and Indian subcontinent. It is great for broiling meat and cooking vegetables. Some of the famous dishes from the subcontinent in which ghee is used include Khichdi, Kadhi, and Puranpoli. It is also used in the making of famous Indian sweets called halwa and laddu. Ghee is also used as a spread over bread and can replace butter in baking. It is ideal for deep frying as well. 

Benefits of using Ghee

Ghee has immense health benefits. Some of its perks are listed below:

  • It is rich in mono-unsaturated Omega 3’s which are healthy fatty acids that support a healthy heart. It is a great source of butyric acid that improves the human digestive system and reduces gut inflammation.
  • It reduces the bad cholesterol(LDL) and increases the good cholesterol(HDL) without harming the lipid profile.  
  • It contains high levels of vitamins that are important for the maintenance of eye and skin health and enhanced immune function.
  • Ghee is also rich in antioxidants which eradicate free radicals from the human body and prevent degenerative changes and premature aging.
  • Contrary to the misconception ghee is fattening, it actually helps lose weight. According to the experts, the high medium-chain triglycerides in ghee help mobilize the stored fat and get rid of it.
  • Ghee helps overcome constipation. Taking 1 or 2 spoons of ghee at bedtime is an effective way of treating constipation. 
  • Ghee can be used as a facial mask. It is good for all skin types and helps in hydrating skin cells. It can be mixed with ingredients like chickpea flour and turned into a DIY mask. 
  • It works well for clogged noses. A few drops of warm ghee early in the morning can help soothe the clogged nose.
  • Ghee is good for people with lactose intolerance. The process of making ghee removes the milk solids making it both lactose and casein-free. 
  • It is recommended for diabetics as it can metabolize and balance high levels of blood glucose. It also stimulates the production of insulin.
  • It helps in healing Utricia. Application of ghee on affected areas gives instant relief from itchiness. 
  • It treats insomnia. Rubbing ghee on the temple and stomach around the naval area cools down the body and has a soothing effect on the mind and triggers a good amount of sleep. 
  • It stimulates lactation and is recommended to new mothers.
  • Due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, it is also recommended for babies.

Facts about Ghee 

  1. It is rejuvenating and easily absorbed 
  2. Ghee helps you keep warm from within, which is why it is commonly found in winter dishes.
  3. Ghee is used for lighting lamps for spiritual practices due to its pure state.
  4. It is given to newborns mixed with dates in India as part of a tradition.
  5. It is used as an effective remedy for cracked lips and conclusion.
  6. Ghee is used as a massage oil as well.
  7. It is used in treating burns
  8. Ghee aids hair growth.
  9. Ghee has a smoke point of 250°C
  10. It adds a glimmer to the eyes as it is a good source of Vitamin A.  
  11. Ghee is used as a key ingredient in ayurvedic medicines.  

Ghee vs Oil

GHEE OIL
Made using the milk/butter of cows.  Oil is extracted from seeds 

(eg: soybean and corn).

Consists of Vitamin A, D, E, and K, along with rich antioxidants and healthy fats.  Contains mono-saturated, poly-saturated, and trans fat.
Very high smoke point. Lower smoke point than that of ghee 
Many health benefits. Harmful effects on health.
Can be stored for a longer period of time. Has a short shelf life. 

The Bottom Line 

With its delightful taste and homely aroma, Ghee is a must-have ingredient. It has numerous health benefits and adds a nutty and roasted flavor to the food. However, like any other ingredient moderation is the key to consuming Ghee.