The moment you open up a jar of ghee, you’ll notice that it’s quite different than ordinary butter. It has a slightly different look to it — as well as a slightly different aroma, a different flavor, and (though you may not be able to perceive with your senses) a different nutritional profile. Butter is to ghee what coal is to a diamond. Ghee is something far more special from the perspective of both ancient tradition and modern nutritional science.
If you’ve never heard of ghee (pronounced ɡē, with a hard G, rhyming with “me”), it has a longstanding place in the cuisine and culture of East Asia, particularly India, prized as an extremely nourishing tonic superfood. Ghee is a type of clarified butter that not only lends itself to many cooking and baking methods but also provides many health benefits. In fact, ghee features prominently in the Indian tradition of Ayurveda (from the Sanskrit words for “science of life”), one of the oldest recorded medical systems dating back millennia, which advocates a natural and holistic wellness practices aligned with the natural cycles and a Vedic lifestyle. Ghee is so revered in these practices and suitable for all constitutions (or doshas in Ayurvedic practice) and ages, it is used regularly in both culinary and therapeutic practice.
Ghee is a product of clarifying butter, or skimming the milk solids, including the lactose and casein, from the melted butter. While normal butter is made by churning milk to separate the solid butterfat from the liquid buttermilk, when that butter is then heated, any remaining water evaporates and the fat separates, leaving a rich, high-quality fat suitable for those that cannot typically consume butter or dairy. You can then spread it on your toast or add a dollop of it to a hot beverage like coffee, tea, or hot cocoa. You can very well use this clarified butter wherever you would use traditional butter—and even in some other unexpected ways, including our decadent Royal Ghee Spreads.
For starters, you’ll notice that ghee has a much more robust flavor. It’s slightly sweeter and has a nutty, caramel taste to it.
Like butter, ghee is solid at room temperature. But ghee will maintain freshness at room temperature much better than butter will, so there’s nothing wrong with letting it sit out on your counter for a little while, whereas butter should go back in the fridge as soon as you’re done using it.
Ghee, like most fats, provides a stable base, perfect for enhancing flavor and nutrition of other ingredients. In fact, when other ingredients are combined or suspended in what is called a ghee matrix, their nutrients become more bioavailable (or easier for the body to utilize). For this reason we have combined our ghee with raw honey and other nutritionally beneficial ingredients and superfoods, such as greens, algae, roots, berries and mushrooms, to provide even further support.
Here’s why so many people hold ghee in high esteem—yes, it’s delicious, but ghee delivers greater health benefits compared with traditional butter. It’s higher in vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A, E, K, Omega-3 and 9 fatty acids, Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) – studied to help relieve inflammation, lower cholesterol and blood pressure and aid burning body fat. Traditional wisdom promotes its ability to improve heart health, fight disease, and gently and effectively detoxify the body.
Here are some of the health benefits you’ll enjoy from adding ghee to your diet:
· If you’re lactose intolerant, ghee is usually considered a safe option. Even though it’s made from dairy (milk), ghee removes 99% of the carbohydrate lactose and the protein casein, so even people who have trouble digesting dairy will still be able to enjoy eating ghee.
· Your digestion may improve when you start eating ghee. The Art of Living explains that ghee can help to soothe and heal the digestive tract and improves your digestive system’s secretion of digestive acid, which makes it easier for food to make its way from your stomach through your intestines.
· Ghee will also improve your body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals, according to India-based hospital Krishnendu. Ghee is good for certain systems of the body, such as your brain and nervous system. And it will help prevent inflammation, which will lessen the effects of things like aging, allergies and arthritis.
· Ghee contains antioxidants, which are important for fighting free radical damage within your cells. Free radicals cause everything from normal aging to the development of disease (including cancer), so fighting these free radicals keeps you feeling strong, vibrant, and youthful. Ghee also contains vitamin A (good for your eyes, skin, hair, and immunity), vitamin E (a disease-fighting antioxidant), and vitamin K2 (prevents tooth decay and supports the growth of strong bones).
· The fat in ghee is what you would consider a “good fat.” Ghee is a source of butyric acid, a type of short-chain fatty acid that improves digestion. It’s also a source of conjugated linoleic acid, a medium-chain fatty acid, which can potentially aid in weight loss.
· Although butter is typically associated with heart disease, that’s not the case with ghee. It’s the opposite—the Cleveland Clinic notes that some research shows ghee is good for improving heart health and lowering risk of cardiovascular disease.
· Ghee’s health benefits go beyond nutrition. It works well as a topical solution, too! ECPI University highlights how ghee can be applied to dry skin and hair as an intensely effective moisturizer. Our Royal Ghee spread has even been used as a facial mask, though we prefer to consume it!
Before we recommend where you can go to buy ghee (because yes, we do have a source for you!), we want to emphasize the importance of buying high-quality ghee. Look for a product that’s made from the milk of grass-fed, pasture-raised cows, as this ghee will have the highest nutritional benefit. You also want to make sure you’re buying ghee in a glass container, which will ensure the potency and the freshness of your ghee is preserved much better than plastic will and won’t leach chemicals into the ghee. Many companies are jumping on the ghee bandwagon as it becomes more popular in the West, producing their own versions of ghee without the proper education or traditional background of the process. For this reason you will find a wide range of quality. You’ll notice a difference in color, texture and flavor in those companies without this necessary education. Stick with companies who are well-versed and committed to making ghee in the traditional way.
Once you have ghee around your kitchen, you’ll find all kinds of creative ways of using it—we have three ways of using ghee that we think really show off its versatility. One of our other favorite things to do with ghee is whip it into our favorite Royal Tonic, which is so warming and comforting and nourishing during the Fall and Winter months.
You’ll soon discover that ghee is an incredible way to upgrade so many of the foods you used to prepare with traditional butter. The additional benefits of a flavorful and potent superfood in the form a decadent and indulgent multi-use spread, nourish deeply and support your health fully.
Discover our Royal Ghee Gold and Earth Ambrosia flavors here.