Having been raised on blocks of good old salted butter, the first time I came across Ghee in a jar, I was more than a little skeptical. When I was told that it did not need to be refrigerated and could last for years on the shelf, I was suspicious that it must be the Indian equivalent of Crisco. No way I was going to use that stuff to cook with. – I could not have been more wrong.
This ancient food, which has its roots in ayurvedic practices, has much to offer our modern diet. Referred to as a “Food of the Gods.” It is believed to be sacred and a cornerstone for health and healing in traditional Indian culture. It is used not only in cooking, but as a topical for skin support and repair.
In Ghee the moisture, proteins and sugar are removed making it a highly stable fat. It is made by boiling butter slowly, until only the pure oil remains. As result it has a much higher smoke point and can be used in frying. It is recommended by ayurvedic and holistic practitioners for people of all ages, as an aid to digestion and in the promotion of all over good health. In one of the You Tube links below Dr Lina comments that it “Feeds your digestion fire.” It also brings lubrication to the entire body and is considered very sacred. It is recommended that Ghee should be “included in the every day life and diet of anyone who wants to live long and well.” The basis for these claims are proven out by what it contains. After being boiled and stirred into its clarified form, Ghee offers medium chain triglycerides, which boost the metabolism, with the added benefit that it can be easily digested even by those who are lactose intolerant. It also contains preformed vitamins A, K2 and conjugated linolaic acid, three nutrients the average person in the US does not get enough of. Actively, K2 supports arteries and bones conjugated linolaic acid improves your metabolism and can help with weight loss and in the prevention of diabetes. Vitamin A is a well known and powerful antioxidant.
Preferred Ghee should be made from unpasteurized and churned butter. It has years of shelf life, does not require refrigeration and reportedly gets better as it ages, though it is important that it is not contaminated with damp utensils that might cause bacteria to grow. If you are unsure about making your own, it is easily found in most grocery stores or online, and is not much more expensive than regular butter.
Sadly, the unavailability and risks of unpasteurized butter make it impractical for most people to acquire, but that is where the greatest health benefits reside.