Ayurveda Ghee or clarified butter is a form of natural fat that is used a lot in Indian ayurvedic diet and cooking by every family and in ayurvedic herbal remedies. This form of natural and fresh fat is not popular in western world. All types of clarified butter are derived from milk.
Ayurveda Cooking 1st Step – Get White, Fresh And Natural Butter From Milk:
First take milk. It could be cow milk, buffalo, goat, sheep, elephant, horse, camel or human milk. But in ayurvedic medicine, whenever there is use of the word milk, it is always cow milk. And when clarified butter is mentioned, it is by default for ghee derived from cow milk.
The next step is to boil milk and prepare curd from it by adding a little curd as a ferment. Within a few hours, we will get the milk converted to curd by natural fermentation process.
Now, curd is churned manually with wooden or plastic churner or in a electric one. White butter floats at the top of butter milk or whey. This butter is all natural and is very different from the butter that you buy in food stores. Processed butter from market possesses yellowish color and salts and preservatives are added to it to prevent it from being spoiled.
This white butter is collected in a vessel and you can use buttermilk or whey in your food just like you use curd or milk.
How Long Does White Natural And Fresh Butter Remain Good?
White butter remains in good condition for 2-3 days during summer season without refrigeration. And if it is refrigerated, it can be used after 7 days for getting ghee.
White butter would be in good condition for 7 days during winter season without refrigeration.
Spoilt white butter exhibits following properties – acidic smell, bad taste. So it should not be consumed as such with food but we can still get pure ghee from it. Still, refrigerate fresh white butter if you intend to collect it during a week and then proceed it to get clarified butter in weekend.
Ayurveda Cooking 2nd Step – Prepare Ayurveda Ghee From White Butter:
You can take either fresh white butter daily or use the already stored white butter (stored white butter from previous 3-7 days). Take white butter in an iron or aluminium pan. In India, people use an iron pan, ‘Kadahi’. You can simply use even nonstick vessels.
Pour fresh or stored white butter in iron pan and switch on gas burner to medium or high level. Within minutes, butter will melt and turn into a white thick liquid. Gradually over a period of 25-30 on high level flame and 60-80 minutes on medium level flame, the thick liquid will have two separate sections. The upper part is ayurvedic ghee or clarified butter and lower part is to be discarded.
The color of the ghee might vary a little – yellowish with cow butter and white with buffalo milk. The brownish color is due to prolonged heating. Some people like a little brown color while others don’t like it. You can check it frequently with a spoon during heating.
Ayurvedic medicine recommends only slightly brown color. Prolonged heating will make it brown with a specific ‘burnt’ odor. So avoid heating for a longer time. Such overheated ghee is used for external use like massage. The sweet and milk fragrance of adequately heated clarified butter is very charming.
You can then take the upper ghee in a separate vessel white it is still hot. Discard and throw away the lower part. You can store ghee at room temperature or in a refrigerator. Usually clarified butter doesn’t get spoiled for months or years when packed. Naturally it is without any additives or colors or salts.
Clarified butter is in liquid form during summer but in winter season or cold places it turns into granular semisolid or solid form. But it always melts at body temperature. You can take a little of solid ghee on your palm and it melts easily.
The Uses Of Ghee in Ayurveda
You can use clarified butter in same way as you use vegetable oils or refined oils or butter. Indians fry curries, vegetables, beans, nuts and meat with clarified butter. ‘Chapatis’ or Indian breads are anointed with clarified butter on one side. People add clarified butter to different recipes or curries or soups just before serving.
The cow ghee is used in ayurvedic medicine whenever there is mention of the word ‘ghee’. Several ‘Ghritam’ or ayurvedic medicated ghee are used for external and internal use.
External use of medicated ayurvedic ghee includes dressing, ointment and enema. Internal use includes medicinal use in little quantities and the use of larger quantity in ayurvedic panchakarma therapeutic procedures.
Buttermilk Or Takra Or Mattha And Raita:
Buttermilk is also very nutritious and without fat. So persons who are suffering from cardiac disorders, hypertension, overweight, high cholesterol levels can enjoy a glass of buttermilk. Buttermilk is commonly known as ‘Mattha’ and the Sanskrit and ayurvedic term for it is ‘Takram’ or ‘Takra’.
Most of Indian rural families consume buttermilk or whey in their breakfast and lunch. The word ‘Raita’ stands for several delicious recipes that are prepared with buttermilk by adding salt, vegetables and spices. Raita is consumed with meals popularly.
The ayurvedic qualities of clarified butter and the views of modern dietetics will be shared with you in another article.