For more than 5,000 years, South Asian countries have used ghee, a type of clarified butter, in cooking as well as for medicinal purposes. But in recent years, ghee has become increasingly popular worldwide for its unique cooking and healing properties.
Ghee is made by heating butter until the water evaporates and it separates. Some of the milk solids are sauteed with the fat to make aromatic ghee. Ghee is used in a variety of ways in cooking. It’s an excellent oil for cooking because it tolerates high heat and does not produce free radicals. Its high burning point helps prevent smoke and burning during cooking. Ghee lasts a long time at room temperature if stored in an airtight container, or it can be put in the refrigerator.
Heath Benefits of Ghee
Ghee has long been recommended by Ayurvedic doctors in India to: promote healing of the body; improve flexibility; improve memory; enhance intelligence; decrease inflammation; and aid digestion. Modern science also credits ghee with containing phenolic antioxidants which help to boost the immune system. Many yoga practitioners believe that a diet including ghee helps lubricate joints and promotes flexibility.
Ghee Versus Other Fats
Doctors and nutritionists recognize that the body requires fats to perform and maintain vital functioning. And, ghee is considered a beneficial source of fat that does not contain trans-fats, hydrogenated oils, or the cholesterol of butter and many other oils on the market.
As with all fats, it is important to monitor portion control. Fat has 9 calories per gram, so do not take too much. Pure ghee, unlike most other animal fats, consists primarily of fatty acids or saturated fats that are mostly short chain fatty acids. Ghee is lower in fat than butter, so is a better option than butter for people concerned about cholesterol. It is also easier to digest because of its lower fat content.
Ghee can be used for frying, drizzled on popcorn with nutritional yeast or spices, in soups, and in many different recipes. It is a basic ingredient in most South Asian cooking. Ghee adds a slightly nutty flavor to recipes and food combinations. While ghee does not taste like much on its own, some people like to spread it on toast with honey, or add it to cooked dishes at the table.
Adding Ghee to Your Diet
It is important that the ghee you use is made with pure organic butter and contains no preservatives or vegetable fats. The Red Radish Natural Foods in Neenah offers 100% organic grass-fed ghee, made in small batches, ensuring purity and the highest integrity of the product.