What Are the Uses of Ghee?

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Ghee has a variety of uses.
Ghee has a variety of uses. (Image: fire on butter image by Grigory Kubatyan from Fotolia.com)

Ghee, or clarified butter, is made by heating butter slowly until the milk solids separate from the fat and the water evaporates. The solids are removed, leaving a golden liquid. Ghee is used mainly in Indian cooking. It can be used in many recipes in place of the suggested fat or oil, even in non-Indian cooking. Ghee is wonderful to cook with, as it tolerates a high heat, imparts a wonderful taste, brings out the flavors of the foods that you're cooking and freezes well. It provides both saturated and unsaturated fats. Ghee is also used for medicinal purposes in traditional Indian medicine.

Medicinal Uses

Ghee is used in the traditional Indian system of medicine, Ayurveda, which is a healing philosophy that aims to balance various elements in one’s body. Ghee is thought to concentrate the benefits of the plants that the cows eat, since it is a purified form of the fat that cows produce in their milk. Ghee is highly regarded in India for its ability to increase intelligence and memory, carry out waste from the body and slow the aging process. It is also used to sooth burns. Some researchers are studying ghee's potential for lowering bad cholesterol.

Cooking and Baking

Ghee can be used in place of most fats or oils for cooking. It smokes at a higher temperature than butter and some other oils, which makes it very useful for high-heat cooking, such as stir-frying. Since ghee does not contain solids, it has a softer consistency than butter. Therefore, it is not recommended as a substitute for solid fats (such as butter) in baking, but can easily be used to substitute for oil. Ghee also has a long shelf life since the perishable milk solids are removed.

Oil Lamps

Oil lamps are of great importance in Indian rituals, and symbolize peace, light and greatness. Ghee is used as fuel for oil lamps in many Hindu rituals, and is thought to be the purest oil to burn.

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