*Ghee: Homemade (DIY) Shelf-Stable Butter*
By: Tooshie Galore
31 July 2020

Ghee is butter with water and milk solids removed – which means it doesn't need refrigerating. Being shelf stable, I was interested in ghee. I paid big bucks for a small bottle; hated it and threw it in the trash. Then after watching several YouTube videos, I purchased an armload of butter and decided to make my own. Here's how I did it:

I used Kroger brand, salted butter and sterilized half-pint mason jars. One pound butter filled two half-pints, with 3/4" headspace. Processing the first pound took about 45 minutes but after that initial endeavor, it took me half that time.

I used a 10" shallow, stainless steel, flat bottom skillet over medium heat. A lid is not necessary as the goal is to allow the water to evaporate. A bright and shiny stainless steel bottom made it easy to see the cooking butter before it started to burn. I heated one pound at a time.

Thanks to the YouTube videos I watched, when I heard the popping sound and saw the white foam I knew it was time to reduce heat to simmer. Do not scrape off the foam. This is the milk solids and it's the caramelizing of the foam that gives ghee its unique flavor. It's OK to move the foam around occasionally to see the bottom but don't disrupt the solids forming on the bottom as this may cause the milk to combine into the mixture. Continue to cook, watching carefully. It should be done in about 20 minutes.

One video I watched suggested thinking in phases:

  1. Melting sticks of butter. About 5 minutes.
  2. Foam forms on the top of the liquid butter and you hear popping – that's water evaporating. This is about 15 minutes into the process. Reduce heat. Keep it at an active simmer but not boiling. You need enough heat to evaporate water; enough to see steam, but not so much as to burn.
  3. Popping noise lessens; the water is gone. The foam congeals and sinks to the bottom. The aroma changes from buttery to a sweet-nutty smell. This is after about 18 minutes.
  4. It's "ghee" once milk solids are toasted brown on the bottom of the pan but not burned and the liquid is clear, making it easy to see the bottom. The color is bright gold. There is little to no foam. About 20 minutes.

Once it's done, turn off heat and ladle ghee into a strainer over jars. Don't pick up a large pot of hot oil – that could be dangerous. Don't scrape milk solids from the bottom. Strain to catch any solids. If you rinse the strainer after clearing out solids, be sure to dry it. Do not add water back into the ghee. Clean the pan between batches so that the solids from the last batch don't burn. Allow jars to cool, clean the rim and add lid, ring and label. The lid will pop as it does in canning.

After cooling if you find milk solids in the bottom of your jar, you didn't cook it long enough. Use this jar first and keep it in the frig. Don't cook it again. Cooking twice doesn't work and will turn ghee bitter and inedible. Batches will vary in color. This is normal. After a few hours, ghee will change from liquid to solid.

After a couple of days, if all the water was not evaporated then ghee could mold. Throw moldy ghee away. If there is no mold then the ghee is good to store. The smell will change but that's OK. This is my first time making ghee. I plan to remove a jar every six months to test it. Do your own research and make your own decisions before consuming anything with an unusual smell.

I am happy with homemade ghee. My six month test was good and this gave me confidence to continue to build, so far, a stockpile of about 12 months worth. I have used it in stir frying, sautéing, baking, microwaving and frying. It adds extra flavor to foods like breads, cookies, potatoes, vegetables, meats, scrambled eggs, pasta and rice. However, I prefer butter to top my morning toast as I don't enjoy the texture of ghee on toast.

There are many health benefits to ghee over butter. Ghee adds the fat that we all need in food storage. I recommend homemade ghee over store-bought for flavor.

Tooshie Galore

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