THE STUDY ANALYSIS ON IMPORTANCE OF GHEE BY ROHAN SHETTY ( FOOD SCIENTIST )
Walk into an Indian household’s kitchen, you are bound to find a bottle of ghee in there.Ghee is a very central part of Indian culture being used widely for cooking and garnishing avariety of foods, but is also used for religious ceremonies and also in Ayurvedic medicine.
HOW IS GHEE MADE?:
Ghee is a form of clarified butter that is produced through slowly heating it to separate the
milk solids present within it. These milk solids consisting of proteins and remnant sugars
become separated by density as it heats. Whey proteins float to the surface and can be
skimmed off, while casein sinks to the bottom.
Ghee and clarified butter are mostly similar however a key difference between them is when
it comes to the separated milk solids. In clarified butter they are extracted right away
following which the liquid is stored to cool. In ghee however it is cooked for longer which
allows the milk solids to undergo a chemical process known as caramelization. This produces
the distinctive golden-brown colour, aroma and flavor in ghee which makes it a staple in
Indian cooking. A mid-low temperature and extended cooking time are recommended in
order to minimize burning of milk solids which can ruin the taste, quality and edibility of the
ARE THERE ANY HEALTH BENEFITS TO GHEE?:
In this day and age, it can be easy to get lost in the endless stream of information, not knowing what is accurate. Just browsing on ghee, you will get about fifty contradictory pieces of information. Ghee, much like butter, is rich in butyric acid, which has been shown to aid digestive health, support healthy gut microbiota, and reduce inflammatory processes. Studies have shown that the consumption of butyric acid in moderation reduces the risk and severity of a variety of gastrointestinal illnesses such as IBS, dysbiosis, and even colon cancer. Butyric acid is an important supplement for anyone suffering from digestive ailments. In addition, it has a number of antioxidants which have led researchers to theorize it may have anti-cancer activity.
Now it might be easy to assume that since it is a fat, it is unhealthy. However, fat too is an important part of a healthy diet along with protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and water. It is more important to consider the type of fat we are consuming than the amount. Saturated fats and trans fats commonly found in fried and processed foods are what we must be wary of. Not to worry though, ghee is rich in unsaturated fats, which is why it is a liquid at room temperature. A study by Sharma, Zhang, and Dwivedi in 2010 showed that consumption of ghee in moderation is correlated with decreased cholesterol levels and coronary heart disease risk. A number of nutritionists have begun to advocate for the usage of ghee and clarified butter as a result. It is also a preferable option for those who are lactose intolerant.
Finally, the shelf life of ghee is significantly prolonged as well. Removal of milk solids means there is minimal ability for bacteria to grow and spoil them unlike butter or milk, allowing them to be stored at room temperature for months on end.
WHAT IS VEGETABLE GHEE? IS IT A HEALTHIER OPTION THAN GHEE MADE FROM ANIMAL SOURCES?:
Vegetable ghee, known as vanaspati in Hindi, is primarily produced from palm oil. Unlike animal-based oils and fats, vegetable oils are usually liquid, so they undergo hydrogenation and hardening for consumption. Vegetable ghee lacks the golden color of pure ghee and is often used as an adulterant due to its lower cost and faster production.
One might assume it is healthier since it is vegetarian. However, the process of producing vegetable ghee results in a high amount of trans fat, leading to rapid weight gain, high cholesterol, increased risk of diabetes, and coronary heart diseases. Additionally, vegetable ghee is commonly made from reused cooking oils such as vegetable oil or rice bran oil. Therefore, ghee sourced from cow and buffalo milk is considered a safer and healthier option than vegetable ghees.
Vanaspati or vegetable ghee is produced through the hydrogenation of palm oil, offering a more affordable alternative to regular ghee. As a vegetarian option, it is preferred for consumption, undergoing hydrogenation and hardening to solidify plant oils extracted directly from plants, which are liquid at room temperature.
Furthermore, ghee has found application as a delivery system for drugs and treatments. Nanoparticle trials of temozolomide, a chemotherapy drug used for brain tumor treatment, have shown favorable results using ghee as a delivery agent. Historical references in Vedic sciences extol the therapeutic benefits of ghee, suggesting potential untapped medicinal properties.
HOW CAN I USE GHEE FOR COOKING?:
The most common way to use ghee is as a garnish for foods. It can be applied to dosa or mixed with rice and dal to enhance the taste. When it comes to cooking, ghee serves as an excellent alternative to butter or lard. Its absence of milk solids makes it less likely to burn. While its smoking point is lower than traditional cooking oils, caution is needed when frying at higher temperatures to prevent burning. However, incorporating ghee into cooking can significantly elevate the flavor of dishes. I personally use ghee to cook various proteins, and the results have consistently been incredibly tasty.
Ghee used in cooking doesn't have to be plain; you can enhance its flavor by adding various condiments such as curry leaves, cardamom, or cinnamon. The key is to cook at a low heat, allowing these additions to infuse the ghee with excellent flavors. Whether used as a garnish or in cooking, ghee proves to be a versatile and flavorful addition to a variety of dishes.
WHAT IS UNIQUE ABOUT GIR COWS?:
The name "Gir Ghee" is derived from Gir cows, whose milk is used to produce the ghee. Gir cows, native to India, are well-known for their hardiness and ability to tolerate various stresses, including weather and tropical illnesses. These cows, on average, can produce between 6 to 10 liters of milk per day. The milk from Gir cows is recognized for its superior nutritional quality compared to that produced by commercially available cows, which often undergo genetic modification. Organic Express is dedicated to raising Gir cows under humane and environmentally friendly conditions, with a commitment to avoiding genetic modifications or cross-breeding.
In summary, ghee is an incredible and healthy option for cooking and food, with the added benefit of an amazing taste. Even a few drops of ghee can enhance the flavor of dishes like idli, dosa, or rice and dal. For those looking to add this culinary gem to their kitchen, Organic Express offers the Gir Ghee on their website. This ghee is made from fresh hand-churned butter sourced directly from the scenic farms of Sakaleshpur, produced with exceptional quality, and free from adulterants and preservatives. Order now from Organic Express for Pure A2 Gir Cow Ghee.
By Rohan Shetty
M.S. Bioinformatics, Johns Hopkins University
M.S. Biotechnology, Johns Hopkins University
B.S. Cellular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, San Diego
- Banasiewicz T, Domagalska D, Borycka-Kiciak K, Rydzewska G. Determination of butyric acid dosage based on clinical and experimental studies – a literature review. Prz Gastroenterol. 2020;15(2):119-125. doi:10.5114/pg.2020.95556
- Barbara Rischkowsky, D. Pilling (eds.) (2007). List of breeds documented in the Global Databank for Animal Genetic Resources, annex to The State of the World’s Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. ISBN 9789251057629. Accessed January 2017.
- Sharma H, Zhang X, Dwivedi C. The effect of ghee (clarified butter) on serum lipid levels and microsomal lipid peroxidation. Ayu. 2010;31(2):134-140. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.72361
- Balasubramanian K, Evangelopoulos M, Brown BS, et al. Ghee Butter as a Therapeutic Delivery System. J Nanosci Nanotechnol. 2017;17(2):977-982. doi:10.1166/jnn.2017.12623