A Gallon of Ghee

Categories: Grocery Guide

Photo by Katharine Shilcutt
Among the other wondrous things you can find at Costco these days is this half-gallon container of ghee, or clarified butter. The gigantic jar you see above cost just a hair under $10.

Considering the price of butter at the grocery store -- four sticks of Land o' Lakes cost me roughly $4 last weekend -- and the amount you're getting with the giant jar of ghee above, you're already looking at a pretty good deal. But what makes ghee extra special are three additional benefits.

Photo by Johnny Stiletto
Milk solids separating from the butter during clarifications. Check out the entire process of turning butter into ghee.
Number one, the way that ghee is made -- boiling off water and separating the cow's milk solids from the rest of the butter -- means that it has a very high smoke point. All the annoying snapping, popping and spattering you get from frying or sauteing with regular butter? Barely exists with ghee. It's also great for baking, with a sweet and nutty flavor that is wonderful in pie crust.

Number two, the lack of milk solids and caseins means that ghee is much easier to digest -- as is goat's milk butter -- for people who are lactose intolerant. (Not to mention it's better for you in general than most margarines.)

And number three, when kept in an airtight container (such as the one shown above), ghee will keep unrefrigerated for two to three months. In the refrigerator, it will last for about a year. That is, if you can keep it around that long after tasting the stuff.

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Cool post!If you want an interesting side trip sometime, stop into the Indian spice shop next to Himalaya and Shiv Sagar. Place is called Chandrika Masala. Hundreds of Indian spices and flours....but the kicker is that they're all ground right here in Houston, on Murphy Rd in Stafford.

Very friendly and they happily educated me, and although they admit to being a bit more expensive, you'll be blown away by the aromas and selection.

Francesco Orodinapoli
Francesco Orodinapoli

If you own one of those glass fat separators, the ones that you use to remove fat from stocks and broths, it will do double duty as a microwave ghee maker. You can melt your butter in the microwave, better to use a lower power setting, and just pour off the separated ghee.

Since butter is about 20-25% water, ghee isn't 100% interchangeable in recipes that call for regular unsalted butter.

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