I used to use olive oil all the time for cooking, frying, baking, roasting, and anything that required oil. But I didn’t know that extra-virgin olive oil has a low smoke point (325-375 degrees), which means that all of the food that I cooked olive oil in it would turn rancid when my heat would be beyond its smoke point….but at the time, I didn’t know. The smoke point is when an oil starts to visibly smoke, therefore breaking down the oil and producing free radicals, which are not healthy for us.
Three years ago, I was introduced to ghee and I’m so glad! It has the highest smoke point of any unrefined fat – boasting a 450 – 485-degree smoke point. This means that it can withstand a higher temperature than most unrefined fats and it will not go rancid or produce any free radicals. Though coconut oil is a wonderful, unrefined oil to use, and it adds a great flavor to items such as pancakes, it’s smoke point is only measured at about 350 degrees, which is smilier to extra-virgin olive oil.
The unrefined fats, that are talked about here, are great to use in the proper setting. Chose your fat based on the smoke point and what you will be cooking. For example, extra-virgin olive oil and coconut oil is great for salad dressings, smoothies, pancakes, essentially cooking and baking at a temperature lower than it’s smoke point.
My favorite go-to fat and oil for making omelets, stir-frying vegetables, searing meats, adding to soups and drizzling it on top of oven-roasted vegetables, is ghee! It has a yummy, comfort food taste, but it’s a good-for-you fat! When butter is melted down, it is separated into fat and cream. The fat is the ghee that we are going for.
There are a couple of ways to make ghee. Some people like to melt their butter in a pan on the stove, but I prefer to melt mine in the oven at a regulated temperature so that I don’t have to keep watch over the melting butter and I can do something else for 50-60 minutes.
Since I try to purchase as much organic, grass-fed food items as possible, I purchase Kerrygold butter from Costco. It is the most cost-effective place to purchase this grass-fed butter from Ireland! Other grocery stores carry this butter too, but it is usually sold as one 8 oz brick, whereas Costco carries it in a box of three 8 oz bricks.
3 bricks of Kerrygold Butter (1 box from Costco)
Heat oven to 200 degrees. In an oven-safe glass bowl or casserole dish, place 3 bricks of Kerrygold butter. Allow the butter to melt for 50-60 minutes. The ghee will be ready after the melted butter is separated from the cream. Allow the ghee to cool for about 20 minutes. With a spoon, skim off the foam on top. And place ghee into a clean, dry jar. I typically use a 20 oz wide mouth jar. You can either spoon out the fat on top or use a turkey baster.
Ghee can be stored in the pantry for 6 months or more, though mine only lasts for a few weeks. It doesn’t need refrigeration because the cream has been removed.