For centuries, cooks across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East have heated butterfat to remove the milk solids and water, making ghee, or clarified butter. Ghee has a longer shelf life and can withstand high heat better than olive oil or butter, but it also has healthful properties, says Shubhra Krishan, the author of Essential Ayurveda.
“Clarified butter carries fat-soluble nutrients quickly and easily inside cells, making them ‘bioavailable’ to you for quick but lasting energy,” she says, adding that ghee is also rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene and vitamin E. “Clarified butter in your diet keeps you youthful.”
Ghee can be used in place of regular butter or oil to cook everything from scrambled eggs to choice steaks. Its nutty flavor makes it a tasty finishing oil for lentils, stews, and soups.
But don’t stop at the dinner table—ghee can also be used as a salve for sunburns, scrapes, and insect bites.
“Clarified butter has time-tested ropana, or ‘mending’ qualities,” Krishan says.
To Make It at Home…
Melt half a pound of unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat, then bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
When the liquid appears amber in color, remove the pan from the heat and cool it to room temperature.
Skim off any foam, and strain the liquid fat into a jar through several layers of damp cheesecloth; discard any sediment.
Cover and store for up to six months.