Ghee is a wonderful food—delicious, nourishing, and great for cooking. Ghee is a food originating in South Asia and is commonly used in Indian food. It is a form of clarified butter.
Dairy is rich in many important fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins, but casein is a problem for many people, including most with autism. This is where ghee comes in. Ghee is made from butter and contains many important nutrients without casein. Ghee, made from grass-fed butter, is rich in vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as the fatty acid CLA and butyric acid (a short chained fatty acid that fuels the intestinal cells). Grass-fed ghee also has a higher ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fatty acids than conventionally raised dairy products.
The process making ghee involves cooking the butter, which separates and eliminates the milk solids that contain the casein. Therefore, ghee does not contain casein and is appropriate on a casein-free diet.
Ghee is an excellent substitute in recipes that use butter. It works well in baked goods – just melt it at low heat before adding to the recipe where liquid oil is indicated. Ghee also has a high smoke point so it does not burn easily like butter and some other oils. It works well with pan-frying and other cooking methods that require higher heat.
You can use it in place of butter and other “butter spreads” for a much more nutrient dense choice. I think it is delicious spread on toast or other places butter might be used. Because one of the things that makes butter taste good is salt (and ghee is salt-free), I often recommend a small sprinkle of salt on the food to provide that delicious salty taste butter has.
Ghee has a bit of a stronger flavor than butter so for some children, you might try softening ghee and mixing it with 50% coconut oil (refined is flavorless)—and add a pinch of salt. You can also add a touch of honey for a delightful spread.
My favorite uses for ghee:
- Pop popcorn in ghee and/or drizzle melted ghee over finished popcorn.
- Sauté vegetables in ghee
- Spread ghee on toast
- Melt ghee and use in baking where liquid oil is called for
- Add a dollop of ghee to hot rice or hot cereal
- Melt on corn on the cob
- Use when caramelizing onions
- Use when cooking eggs such as scrambled eggs
- Melt one ounce 70% cocoa, ½ coconut oil, ½ cup ghee, melt together. Add nuts, dried fruit, shredded coconut and a pinch of salt. Freeze and eat.
- Top cooked squash, potatoes and sweet potatoes
Make or Buy
You can make your own ghee or buy it. Make sure you use butter from pastured animals that eat grass for high quality, nutritious ghee. Unsalted, cultured butter is a good choice to use for making ghee. There are many videos online for making ghee.
When buying it, look for a company that uses grass-fed butter. I have tried several brands of ghee and my personal favorite is Pure Indian Foods—they have been making ghee for generations and use grass-fed butter. You can see this with the very golden color of their ghee indicating a nutrient-dense food.
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