Olive oil has been a standard in our house but its not so good at high temperatures, so I needed something that was able to withstand the heat of a stir fry for example, and then I remembered Ghee.
Its just clarified butter. Butter is nice and natural and can be made in my very own kitchen so therefore its not a complicated industrial process. Ghee is even simpler and quicker to make than the actual butter itself.
The reason butter smokes and burns is that its full of dairy "solids". Once you melt the butter and start to heat it, those solids start to burn, turning your butter black and burnt in a few seconds flat at high temperatures. Clarified butter has those solids removed and leaves you with just the butter fat that doesn't burn and can be used at nice high temperatures.
Once I understood that, it was a case of making a batch of clarified butter to use when I wanted to fry at high temperatures.
Here's what I did...
Make or buy a block of unsalted butter and pop it in a pot and melt it. Let it come to a bubble and then you will see a layer of lighter coloured solids come to the surface. Don't let you butter get too hot or it will burn and you will have burnt butter not glorious ghee!
Once the solids have all come to the surface you can skim them off or you can just filter the melted butter through a sieve or funnel lined with a few layers of muslin or a clean Chux cloth like I do. I use the funnel as it directs the ghee where I want it. I find the sieve tends to spread it out and splash the butter about a bit more.
I filter mine straight into the container that I store it in in the fridge. Carefully pour the butter from the pot into the funnel making sure that the ghee is going onto the cloth and not pouring over the edge as the idea is to remove the solids from the liquid.
If you think there is still some solids in the ghee restrain it through a smaller sized filter or double the layers of cloth and pour very slowly. If it burns when you use it, it definitely did have some solids in it still!
The ghee should be a nice bright clear yellow not a cloudy opaque yellow like normal butter. If the solids rise to the top when your ghee is cooling just scrape them off and use them in garlic butter. Its especially tasty if its salted butter that you used! Make sure you still keep the ghee in the fridge like you normally do with butter though.
My "after" picture wont load today so I'll post one next time I make some ghee so you can see the difference between butter and ghee. There are plenty of ghee photos on the net if you cant wait though, if you need to see the before and after shots sooner than I can post them!
Ghee allows me to have an oil/fat to fry at high temperatures without having to put a highly chemically processed substance into my body. Ghee also tastes much better than any vegetable oil that I've ever had before! It cuts down on another bottle of "stuff" I need to buy and takes a few minutes to make. If I'm desperate, I can make enough on the fly to get dinner sorted because its so quick and easy to make. I melt the butter in the frying pan and filter it back into the pan rather than a container and just keep going!
What are your ghee making experiences like? Let us know by posting in the comments section!
Green-ness: 5/5 especially if you use home made or organic butter!
Frugal-ness: 5/5 for making your own!
Time cost: About a minute and a half!
Skill level: Melting butter - almost as easy as boiling water!
Fun-ness: Good to know its one less bit of rubbish going into my family body!