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By Nellie's Kindness Crew
You've probably seen it on the shelf of your local supermarket or unknowingly enjoyed some in the curry at your favorite Indian restaurant. So what is ghee, anyway? The answer is simple: ghee is butter with the water and milk solids removed; in other words, pure butterfat. The butter that you find at the grocery store is 80-86% butterfat (84% in our case), with water and milk solids making up the remaining 14-20%. The process of making ghee (which is a type of clarified butter) includes melting it, cooking off the water, then allowing the milk solids to separate from the butterfat. Although ghee can be purchased at the store, it often comes with a high price tag, which is all the more reason to make it right at home. Here's how:
Unlike browning butter or frying an egg with crispy edges, making ghee is a "low and slow" cooking process. It takes a little bit of patience, but its higher smoke point, slighty nutty flavor, and overall versatility make the final product well worth the wait.
Along with being a great option for those who are sensitive to lactose, ghee comes with countless benefits. Clarifying butter removes the milk proteins, which are responsible for butter's notoriously low smoke point. With a smoke point of about 482F, ghee (and any type of clarified butter) can be safely used for sautéing, frying eggs, searing meats like steak and pork chops, and much more. Thanks to its extremely low water content, ghee is also considered shelf stable and has a much longer shelf life than butter. However, with the clarification process comes some volume loss. If you're making a batch of ghee specifically for a recipe, keep in mind that you'll lose about 25% in volume when you clarify your butter.
Like regular butter, ghee should always be covered so that it doesn't take on any flavor from other ingredients in your fridge. A lidded glass jar will do the trick. Although ghee can be stored on your counter, it will last much longer in the refrigerator—up to 3 months.
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