I discovered the wonders of ghee when I first started out on my own personal quest for optimal digestive wellness. I have been using it now for around five years and due to its long shelf life, nutritional benefits and amazing culinary flexibility, it has almost totally replaced the use of butter and many other cooking oils in my home.
People in the West may be less familiar with ghee and its wonderful nutritional profile as it originated in South Asia. Ghee has been an important staple in Indian cuisine for centuries and in Asian cultures it is renowned for its healing qualities. Ghee is not only beneficial for the body but also for the mind. Ayurveda regards ghee as key part of a balanced diet. It is considered one of the principle foods for protecting and nourishing the health of the skin, as well as maintaining good digestion and mental clarity.
Nutritional composition and highlights
Ghee contains a combination of both saturated and unsaturated fats and includes short-chained fats making it easy to digest. It is incredibly rich in butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid that is beneficial in helping to maintain the health of the cells that line the gastrointestinal tract. Ghee is also rich in antioxidants, contains conjugated linoleic acid and is also a great source of fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K.
3 Tips on how to select a good quality Ghee:
Ghee is readily available in most supermarkets and health food stores now, however the question is, how do you go about selecting one that is good quality? Below are a few tips that I believe are fundamental when selecting a good quality ghee.
1. Make sure you read the label and find out the following:
Where is it produced - Is it a local organic dairy farm?
Have the cow’s been grass fed?
Have they been treated with tender loving care?
Has the butter been traditionally churned and is it certified organic?
Are there any other ingredients added – colours, flavours and preservatives etc?
2. Involve your senses when making your choice:
What does it smell like – does it have a rich, sweet nutty aroma?
What is the texture like – is it blissfully creamy with a slight grainy texture?
What is the colour like – Is it a beautiful rich golden colour?
What does it taste like – Is it bursting with flavour?
3. What is the packaging like:
Ghee should be packaged in glass jars to ensure that there are no nasty chemicals from plastics or cans leaching into the ghee from the packaging.
In my opinion dairy products that have been produced from animals that graze on organic green pastures should always be the consumer’s priority, as the nutrient profile and health benefits of such products are far superior then those that are not.
Ghee is composed almost entirely of fat, therefore it doesn’t require any refrigeration. It also has a much longer shelf life than butter. It is best stored at room temperature in a cool, dark place away from direct heat and light. Once opened it usually has a shelf life of around 12 months. A jar of ghee is lucky to last around 3-4 weeks in my house.
Cooking with ghee:
Ghee is primarily used as a cooking fat. It has an extremely high smoke point (around 480 degree F), making it an excellent choice for frying with as it doesn’t burn easily. Furthermore, ghee is incredibly versatile - more so than you probably realise. I use it regularly for the following:
roasting spuds and other root vegetables like parsnips and beets
whipping up the odd curry
a butter substitute when baking cakes
drizzling over popcorn
mixing with garlic and parsley to make gluten free garlic bread
making scrambled eggs
and even spreading on my toast when I have run out of butter!
How is our Fushi ghee made?
Our Ghee is made from small batches of traditionally churned quality English butter and "cooked" slowly for 6 – 8 hours to rid it of any impurities. This results in a pure ghee with a lovely fragrance and colour. There are no added flavourings, preservative or colourings.
Is ghee lactose and caseine free?
I have come to the conclusion that ghee may or may not be suitable for individuals who are lactose and casein intolerant. I have some friends that are fine with it and others that cannot tolerate it at all. Individuals must determine for themselves if ghee is actually suitable for them or not. Most of the lactose and casein is removed during the manufacturing process however it is possible that tiny amounts may still remain in some commercially produced products. Therefore individuals who are incredibly sensitive may react when eating ghee and should therefore probably avoid it. If you are a highly sensitive to milk proteins and experience digestive upset and respiratory problems then you need to choose a ghee that has had most of the milk solids removed or better still it is probably best to make your own.
Making your own ghee is easy. I have done this a couple of times now and it worked out amazingly well. It can be quite a lengthy process so you really need to be in the mood and also be prepared to stay indoors for several hours.
Organic Ghee or clarified butter produced Fresh from free range grass fed cows
Organic Ghee or clarified butter has been recognised and highly valued by Ayurveda, the ancient medical science of India. Placed at the top of the oily foods list, Ghee is considered to be an essential part of a balanced diet.