Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ghee, it's not so hard to make after all!

My biggest problem with the Whole30 program is still getting enough fat into my meals.  Sounds like a good problem to have, right?  But it's not.  I need GOOD fat, and there's only so much olive oil and coconut milk I can handle.  It's easy to add nuts to the mix and get the fat in there, but you're supposed to use nuts sparingly on the Whole30 plan, and I've been trying to stick to that.  I knew I needed butter to put on my potatoes and other vegetables, so that meant making my own ghee (also called clarified butter).

I'd have made it earlier this week when I started the plan, but I didn't have anything to strain the milk solids out of the butter with.  They say you can use cheesecloth, but I didn't have any, so I ordered these nut milk bags from amazon and they came in today.  I couldn't wait to rip open the box and put them to use.  I needed my ghee!

© Marie Anne St. Jean

The Whole30 book says to cube four sticks of butter, but I didn't see where it would make any difference how much you used because you're just melting the butter by itself, not adding anything else where a ratio of one ingredient to another might matter.  Not wanting to waste a whole pound of butter if I messed it up somehow, I decided to start with just two sticks.

So... here's how to make your own ghee.

Simply cut the butter into chunks and put into a small saucepan and melt it on medium/low heat, and don't stir it.  Once it melts down and starts simmering, white stuff will float to the top - that's the milk solids that you DON'T want, as they're not Whole30 compliant.

© Marie Anne St. Jean

After it's simmered for a bit, take a spoon and skim the white stuff off the top of the melted butter and discard it.  That should get rid of most of the milk solids, but you'll still need to strain it good to make sure you got it all.

© Marie Anne St. Jean

My nut milk bags were kinda stiff, so I had to think about how best to approach this step of the process.  I decided to try putting the empty bowl to catch the butter inside the nut milk bag and pour it through that way.  It was a bit tricky as it wanted to roll around on top of and off the side of the bag, but as soon as I poured it on top, I lightly pressed my finger down over the bag to make a slight indentation, so that it would flow through that spot over the bowl.

© Marie Anne St. Jean

It might not have been the best solution, but it worked.  As fine a mesh as the bag was, it didn't seem like it caught much of anything, so I drained it through a second time.  It still didn't catch much, so I guess I must have done a good job when I first spooned out the solids.

After straining, I poured it into a glass measuring cup to make pouring easier, and put it into a large baby food jar to cool.  The two sticks of butter that I started with yielded slightly more than the baby food jar full.  I still needed to make something for dinner, so I used what little was left in the measuring cup, so I didn't need to scramble to find another jar.

Here's the clarified butter just after taking off the stove -

© Marie Anne St. Jean

And after it settled for just a few minutes.  You can see at the bottom of the jar that it's already starting to solidify.

© Marie Anne St. Jean

After more cooling and settling, into the fridge it goes, ready to add to my next meal!

© Marie Anne St. Jean

It really is as easy as that.
  • Cut butter into chunks
  • Melt and simmer slowly until white stuff appears
  • Skim white stuff and discard
  • Strain to get rid of more white stuff
  • Pour into glass jar
  • Allow to cool, then refrigerate

I'm so happy that it's such a simple process, because I doubt I'd make it the full 30 days of the Whole30 without it.  This solves a huge problem for me, and I can't wait to try ghee on my breakfast veggies in the morning!

~ Marie Anne

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