Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Ayur Vedic Ghee

Ghee is sometimes called anhydrous butter, butterfat, butter oil, or clarified butter. For technical reasons, due to methods of processing, none of these are truly ghee. They lack the full flavor of ghee, and some studies show that the Conjugated Linoleic Acid is higher in ghee made from cultured cream than from butter.

The following is reprinted by permission from Madan Gopal (das) RNS (Chowpatty, Mumbai - IN):

In this mail I am describing the system to make ghee from milk-yogurt-butter milk-butter-ghee. It was asked to me as a personal question.

> Thank you for your valuable contribution. It really convinced me to start producing my own ghee. Therefore, could you kindly describe in detail the traditional/ayurvedic way of manufacturing ghee, please (how to produce the best possible yoghurt, then butter, then ghee), esp. the step how you transform yoghurt into butter?<

It requires a churning rod. It is yet easily available in India. There are two types. For daily milk to range of 3-5 litres we can use hand held churning rod. There is no need of rope in this system. The rod is rotated clock wise and anticlockwise by hand itself. If one has more milk then we require to churn with rope. I can't explain the set up on computer. It has to be seen or shown with a diagram...


All the ladies in house hold knew the art. Not even in India it is vanishing or rather vanished in cities and vanishing in villages. May take a generation more.

I just had a long talk about this with my mother and now writing it on mail. I use to do it on small quantities and few times a year as per my requirement, now my mother is also initiated devotee. This is what I learned from her about the way she makes herself which is traditional system.

This system was practiced when even fridge(refrigirator) were not there. Milk is boiled. It has to be cooled and allowed to remain without disturbance. It has to remain at least of 10 hours. In this time the cream gets collected on top of milk in nice thick layer. If you boil the milk and keep it again for few hours again some cream is collected. Only the cream from top has to be removed. Very little milk might come cream. But extra milk should be avoided.

Then we add little yogurt in the cream. Keep such cream for 6-8 hours so the cream also turns in yogurt. You can add little cream on top of this cream-yogurt so that after some time (6-8) this added cream will also turn into yogurt. But if have enough (say 3-4litre) milk daily then you can need not do this system. You can then churn butter on daily basis. But if you have enough milk but less time then as well you can go on adding cream from top of milk each time so that we go on collecting more of cream turned in yogurt. But we cannot do this for more than three days as the first yogurt might start get to spoil. Better to churn daily if we have enough milk or at least on alternate days. More delay is not suggested. One more day can be added on emergency.

Then take the churning rod and start churning the cream turned into yogurt. There is prevalent system to add little warm water at beginning of churning. My mother said she would just wash the vessel and churning rod with warm vessel just before churning. So do either and churn. Exact technique has to be seen but even if you churn anyway butter will come. Only thing is little less butter will come or you have to do some more labour. But by practise one can perfect churning technique.

One has to churn it thoroughly so that all the butter comes out and it gets seperated from buttermilk. As you churn the butter starts collecting and then slowly collect it together in a one ball of butter. This can be removed. At the end of churning we might add little cold water. This helps in collecting butter together in one ball of butter. Cold water has to be added only after we have churned enough and butter is already formed. Cold water only helps to get butter together. After we remove the butter we might or not add more water. What remains in vessel is nutritious, delicious buttermilk, which as well tastes excellent.

Take the butter and collect in a vessel. In present days you can store the butter for a week in a fridge. In previous times the butter was kept submerged in water in a pot. We can go on adding more butter when ever we make. But the water has to be changed everyday sa whenever we add butter. In this way the butter remains without getting spoilt for about a week.

Then take all the butter in vessel and heat it over a stove on slow flame. In some time the butter will get heated and get changed into ghee. This process of heating butter if very fragrant and if you have original cow butter the fragrance is incomparable. Heat butter nicely till all the butter becomes into ghee. Boil a little more so ghee becomes slightly (very little) brown in colour. This extra heating is required so that the ghee remains good for long time.

Then ghee can be collected in a separate vessel. During heating of butter some matter might settle in ghee as solids at bottom of vessel. I don't know what they call it in english. In marathi (my mother tongue) we call it beri. This beri is not bad. But better to collect the top pure ghee separately if we want to keep ghee for long time (say more than a week). Then this beri with some ghee can be used for cooking or honouring it directly may be with some sugar.

The process is over.

Now a days with advent of fridge some ladies just keep cream in fridge. They collect few days cream in fridge and without converting in yogurt they just churn the cream with the rod. But this is not traditional system and got introduced only after refrigerator.

Your Servant
Madan Gopal Das


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