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Why would a prepper wanna know how to make ghee? Because it’s one of the most amazing organic products, and because it’s basically a perfect survival butter that deserves the place of honor on the top shelf of your survival pantry.
But what is ghee anyway? When you heat butter long enough for all the water to evaporate, getting rid of all milk solids in the process, you’ll get a dense, very greasy, yellow and shelf-stable substance. Say hello to the precious, ancient Asian delicacy!
Of course, you can buy a jar (or ten) of Ghee the Clarified Butter on Amazon or any other store. But making some on your own is a far better choice because you can control the process. And it’s only then that you can be positive that there aren’t any additives or artificial flavors. It’s a perfect occupation for a lazy hour on your homestead, especially if you’ve already made butter from your pasture-raised cows’ yummy organic milk.
Note, however, that you should aim for smaller quantities until you get the gist. Cooking your own ghee is an easy process. But you still need to do it a couple of times before your product becomes superb.
Why Bother Making Homemade Ghee Butter?
There are myriads of reasons why ghee is better than your regular butter. Here are just a few:
- Even people who are sensitive to other dairy products can eat it. The process of making ghee includes getting rid of milk solids, which means it shouldn’t cause any trouble if you’re lactose intolerant. That’s why it’s called clarified butter.
- It has a significantly higher smoke point than butter. While butter will start to burn above 350 degrees Fahrenheit, ghee will tolerate a whopping 485 degrees. More than enough to stir-fry your favorite dish. That’s because ghee doesn’t have those burnable milk solids.
- High-quality homemade ghee is ideal for your long-term emergency food supply – it will literally never spoil! Sure, it can start tasting rancid after a while. But eating it is still perfectly safe, which is paramount in prolonged survival scenarios. In fact, Yemenian ghee (called smen) is even purposefully left to go rancid before use!
- The taste is rich and absolutely unique – and much more so than with a jar of ghee you bought and (over)paid for. Like melted, toasted butter with a pinch of sweetness. Any food cooked with it will taste amazing.
- It’s frugal. Premium ghee is pretty darn expensive. Butter isn’t cheap either, but it’s a lot cheaper than ghee. And that’s the only ingredient you need anyway.
- Healthy! Even diabetics can use it without a second thought. It’s chock-full of vitamins K, A, and E, as well as butyrate, a fatty acid that’s very beneficial to our digestive system.
How to Make Ghee in 4 Steps – The Easiest Ghee Recipe
1. Let the Butter Melt
Your first task is to get premium organic butter. Not coconut butter, almond or garlic butter, truffle butter, or any other special-flavored kind of butter. Just your regular, unsalted butter. You can get any quantity you like. For reference, two pounds of butter will work out to about three cups of the final product.
Homesteaders could very well use their homemade butter – the more natural, the better!
To prep it for cooking, you should cut it up into cubes. They don’t have to be too small or else they’re gonna start smearing all over your knife. But it’s pretty important to get them roughly the same size, so they could melt evenly. The temperature should be just enough for your butter to quietly simmer without starting to burn. Use a deep frying pan or a pot.
2. Skim It to Get Rid of Milk Solids
As your butter melts completely, you’ll start noticing a white, gooey foam floating on the surface. It’s actually the milk proteins that are lighter than the butterfat. You should skim them for as long as they keep appearing. Some people skip this step, letting the foam dissolve on its own. However, that’s only acceptable if you aren’t allergic to lactose or casein. Also, if you choose not to scoop the foam out, your ghee will be a bit more grainy in texture.
But what to do with the foam? You can throw it away or use it for cooking the same day. It’s perfectly okay as a replacement for cooking oil.
Anyhow, if you do choose to skim, take your time with this step. The more thoroughly you remove the foam, the cleaner and safer your ghee will be for dairy-sensitive family members.
3. Brown It to Get Rid of More Solids
Now that you got rid of all the goo, your simmering butter should be all clear and see-through enough for you to notice that there is some white-ish residue at the bottom of the pot.
Those are the remainder of your milk solids, and you’ll want to get rid of them too. But not so fast! First, you’ll want to brown them so you could get that distinct, nutty flavor that ghee is famous for.
This is the most sensitive part of the ghee-making process, and you need to really keep your eye on it. The road between browning and burning is very short. Don’t overdo it or your ghee (and everything you cook with it) will have that funky, burnt taste.
4. Strain It
The last part of the process requires some kind of a natural strainer. I prefer using several layers of cheesecloth because it’s made of 100% cotton, but many other people use a coffee filter.
Your strained, completely clarified ghee should now live in a super clean glass jar. There’s no need to even refrigerate it, unless you don’t have a dark and relatively cool pantry or basement to protect it from sunlight.
If you’re an adventurous cook, you can experiment and add all different kinds of spices to your ghee while it’s still warm. Coriander, garlic, thyme, rosemary, ginger, cinnamon – it goes well with pretty much anything.
Now That You Know How to Make Ghee – A Short History of Survival Butter
Now that we’ve seen how ghee is made, let’s dive into its history a little bit.
Even though many variants have existed across Asia and Africa, ghee in today’s form probably originated in India. It was considered a sacred food of the Gods and was exclusively made of cow milk. No wonder it carried ritualistic functions beside its regular, culinary use.
According to Hindu beliefs and customs, even the lowest of foods, when cooked with ghee, could be worthy of people from the highest Indian castes. For over 6,000 years, ghee has been part of traditional Ayurveda medicine, which infuses it with spiritual as well as physical benefits. Not only will you live to 100 if you regularly consume ghee, but you’ll also be more intelligent. Isn’t that convenient?
But how did they come to invent it? The motivation was very simple. In the very hot and humid climate of India, they needed some sort of stable fat that could withstand the heat without going bad. Ordinary butter wouldn’t do it. So that’s how ghee was born.
In other parts of the world such as Egypt, Mongolia, Pakistan, Armenia, Yemen, and even Switzerland, some forms of ghee are made of goat, sheep, or even water buffalo milk.