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Ghee and Turmeric: Infused with Health

Ghee and turmeric are both exotic foods that have become mainstream in American cooking. Both of these foods are prominent in Ayurvedic medicine because of their nutritional and health value (1). Can we combine them easily to get the benefits of both? 

The answer is yes! I will explain the health benefits of ghee and turmeric, the synergy between them, and how to easily prepare this combination in your own home.

Let’s get started and learn to make yummy ghee infused with turmeric.

What is Ghee?

Even though ghee is a trendy food today, it is not new to the scene. It has been used in India for thousands of years. Ghee is a staple in Ayurvedic medicine, where it is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, promote digestive health and calm the nervous system.

Legend has it that Prajapati rubbed his hands together to produce the first ghee out of nothing, and then threw it on a fire to produce his children. 

The more pragmatic view is that ghee came about as an answer to a problem. Regular butter goes rancid when it is left out in a hot climate, and refrigeration is not available. However, once you remove the milk solids, you can safely store ghee at room temperature for months and months. 

Different parts of the world have their own versions of ghee. Ethiopian cuisine uses nitter kebbeh, which is infused with garlic, ginger and spices. North African smen is fermented clarified butter.

Ghee vs Butter

Milk sugars and proteins are removed from ghee.

If you love butter but stay away because it comes from milk, this may be the perfect solution for you. Ghee is also known as clarified butter. 

The process of simmering butter separates the milk solids which contain the lactose and casein, and leave you with a soft and spreadable oil. 

You can cook at a higher temperature with ghee.

Because the milk solids are removed, ghee has a high smoking point. You can heat it up to a higher temperature before the fatty acids begin to break down and release toxic compounds. 

This makes it a good choice for sautéing or roasting foods while preserving their nutritional value. The smoking point of ghee is 482° F. For comparison, butter breaks down when you heat it to 250° F.

Ghee has a longer shelf life than butter.

Butter goes rancid if you let it sit out for a few days, but you can safely leave ghee out on the counter for several months. If you want to keep it longer, it can be refrigerated for at least a year. 

In the fridge ghee will lose its spreadable properties and solidify just like butter. However you can still melt it for cooking or leave a smaller amount out on the counter to stay spreadable. 

It is very handy to have a little bowl of ghee next to your stove whenever you need if for cooking.

Why is Ghee Healthy?

First of all, ghee is made from butter, which is a whole food, as is fresh turmeric. Whole foods contain more of their nutrients than processed foods, and have fewer added chemicals that can be harmful to your body. Read more about why it is healthy to eat whole foods.

Nutritionally, ghee and butter both contain butyrate, a fatty acid that is used as fuel for the cells lining the large intestine. You probably don’t want to eat as much ghee or butter as you would need to supply all of your butyrate. You get a lot more of these short chain fatty acids by feeding your gut bacteria with the proper foods. Read more about how to increase short chain fatty acids in your gut.

However, you can still help your gut out by eating some butter or ghee.

Ghee supplies fat soluble vitamins A, E and K, packaged right up in the fat that they need in order to be absorbed. 

Another beneficial fatty acid in ghee is called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Research shows that CLA changes the microbiome in ways that improve metabolism for the host. CLA is being researched for its role in preventing chronic conditions such as cancer, obesity and atherosclerosis (2).

By infusing ghee with medicinal herbs and spices like turmeric, garlic and ginger, you have instantly raised the nutritional and healing properties of this food.

Can You Mix Ghee and Turmeric?

Herbs and spices pair perfectly with ghee. Many of the flavor molecules in these plants are fat soluble, meaning that they only dissolve in fat, not water. 

The main anti-inflammatory agent in turmeric, curcumin, is also fat soluble. It needs fat to be absorbed in your digestive system. What better thing than to mix it with a solid fat?

Next I will walk you through the steps to make your own ghee with turmeric.

How to Make Turmeric Infused Ghee

30 minutes 30 minutes

Ghee with Turmeric – What you Need:
one pound of organic, grass-fed butter
one or two pieces of fresh turmeric, depending on how strong you want it to be
glass or ceramic containers for storage

  1. Prepare turmeric.

    Wash and grate into coarse pieces.
    Fresh turmeric root and grated turmeric

  2. Melt butter.

    Use a heavy, medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking as butter comes to a simmer. You will begin to hear a lot of crackling sounds as the butter cooks. Leave it to cook until the sounds subside. Scoop the foam off the top of the butter as it cooks.
    A saucepan with melting butter.

  3. Add the grated turmeric.

    Do this when most of the crackling and foaming has subsided. Continue to cook on very low heat until ghee is a deep golden color. Turn off heat and let mixture sit and cool for 15 minutes.
    Ghee with grated turmeric bubbling on the stove.

  4. Strain the ghee.

    Use a fine-mesh sieve and / or cheesecloth to strain the ghee into a glass or ceramic container you will use for storage.
    If you divide the ghee up into several smaller containers, you can keep it fresher for longer by storing some in the fridge.
    A glass bowl filled with yellow ghee.

Final Thoughts

Ghee has been around for thousands of years, and is a practical alternative to butter. Turmeric is a spice with anti-inflammatory properties. You can combine ghee with turmeric to increase the benefits of both these foods.

There are many benefits to using ghee. Ghee is easier to digest than butter. It withstands higher cooking temperatures, and has a longer shelf life. 

Ghee also contains a number of nutrients like butyrate, fat soluble vitamins and conjugated linoleic acid. 

Turmeric is fat soluble and mixes very well with ghee. This makes an effective way to absorb the anti-inflammatory compounds.

You have learned the simple steps to make ghee infused with turmeric. Would you like to learn how to find the foods that are best for you?

I provide personalized nutritional care, and can make you a plan that is tailored to your health needs, likes and dislikes. Visit my services page to learn how to work with me.

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2 thoughts on “Ghee and Turmeric: Infused with Health”

  1. This benefit of turmeric is not only associated with the antioxidant activity of curcumin but is also due to its ability to increase the functioning of other antioxidants as well. It is said that almost 90% of diseases occur due to oxidative stress, and this food, we are talking about, can help to manage this condition very well.

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