by Tiphanie Tueni, Naturopath in Paris 16e, Passy - La Muette
*** Lockdown trick : make room in your Parisian refrigerators by turning your butter into ghee! You'll also get a healthy fat out of it!
Ghee is an essential part of Ayurvedic medicine, nicknamed "liquid gold". It’s known for its nutritional properties and is an interesting alternative to industrial trans fatty acids (such as margarine and sunflower oil) commonly used in cooking.
What is ghee?
Ghee is butter from which the solids have been removed, namely casein (milk protein) and lactose (milk sugar). It’s much more digestible than butter and is generally well tolerated, especially by people with lactose and casein intolerance.
Ghee vs. clarified butter: rich in nutrients
Unlike clarified butter, ghee is butter that has been heated for a long time at a very low temperature. It therefore has the advantage of retaining nutrients such as vitamins A and E. In addition, it allows a better bioavailability and absorption of fat-soluble vitamins contained in food during cooking.
Ghee also happens to be one of the best dietary sources of butyric acid, a short-chained fatty acid mostly produced by the colonocytes when they’re fed fiber. Research suggests that butyric acid could help alleviate irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn’s disease.
Ghee, an ideal fat for cooking
It can be stored at room temperature and is a healthy alternative to all other fats for cooking at high temperatures as its smoke point is 252°C (485,6°F). This includes pan frying, baking, roasting, sauteing…
In comparison, some other smoke points :
- butter: 120°C-150°C (248°F-302°F)
- extra virgin olive oil: 160°C (320°F)
- unrefined coconut oil: 177°C (350°F)
- duck fat: 190°C (374°F)
- refined rapeseed oil 204°C (399°F)
- virgin olive oil: 216°C (420°F)
Ghee helps avoid many toxins...
When ghee is used for cooking, it avoids the Maillard reactions that produce toxic molecules at high temperatures such as acrylamides (molecules recognised as an animal and possibly human carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer).
...and trans fatty acids (TFAs)
Using ghee instead of margarine or hydrogenated vegetable oils such as industrial sunflower oil helps us avoid unhealthy TFAs. The latter are used by the food industry for their long shelf life and stability. They’re commonly found in processed foods such as pastries, pizzas, biscuits, quiches...
Trans fatty acids are extremely harmful to health : they are pro-inflammatory, increase the incidence of cardiovascular disease and are responsible for fat storage in the liver. They’re responsible for hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year.
A simple and easy ghee recipe!
For 1 jar of ghee, you’ll need :
- 500 gr of raw/unpasteurised, unsalted butter from the milk of cattle fed with non-GMO pastures. This quality of butter is interesting for its content in omega 3 as well as vitamins A, D and E *
- A pan
- A jar, washed and air-dried
- A very fine sieve, a coffee filter or a cheesecloth to filter the ghee
1. Cut the butter into pieces and place it in a thick-bottomed saucepan without a lid.
2. Let the butter melt over very low heat; with a spoon, skim off the whitish part that rises to the surface.
3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave to stand for a few minutes.
4. Filter the ghee, stopping when you get to the whey (white liquid at the bottom of the pan).
5. Let the ghee stand at room temperature; it will solidify and can be stored for several months. It can also be stored in the refrigerator.
*For everyday use, favour a raw, unpasteurized butter in order to get the beneficial lactic ferments (in addition to the aforementioned fat soluble vitamins and short-chained fatty acids). You can also enjoy ghee as a spread!
Genome Research : Genome Res. 2019 Apr;29(4):521-531. doi: 10.1101/gr.242453.118. Epub 2019 Mar 7. Article accessible via: https://genome.cshlp.org/content/29/4/521.abstract?sid=a5e20faa-7894-4ff1-988e-7ed187afaec1
On the effects of ghee on serum lipid levels and microsomal lipid peroxidation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3215354/
On the smoke point of different oils: https://www.lanutrition.fr/bien-dans-son-assiette/aliments/matieres-grasses/huiles/le-point-de-fumee-des-huiles