We recently received a question from a reader who had bought a jar of ghee. She was curious how long it would last in the fridge, and what she could use it for. Sara writes:
I also got a jar of ghee; how long will it last in my fridge, and what would be good uses for it (especially ones I might not think of!)
First off, what is ghee anyway?
When you melt butter and let it boil for a little while, the water will gradually evaporate and the milk protein and solids will settle down into the bottom and be strained away. The butter fat that is left will be solid at room temperature, and since the moisture content is very low and there are no more milk solids left in it, it can be kept for a long time without refrigeration.
This process was used primarily in the Middle East and South Asia to preserve dairy. Ghee is used as the primary cooking fat and even as lamp oil.
Ghee will last for a very long time without going rancid, although I do keep mine in the fridge to prolong its life. It should last as long as you need it to: months and months at least. You can use it as a cooking oil anywhere else you would use butter or oil: cooking vegetables, frying rice before steaming it, or searing meat. Since it doesn't have the milk solids of butter, you can fry with it at higher temperatures without it smoking. It is very high in fat of of course, so do use it with good judgment!
Readers, how do you use ghee?
Related: Word of Mouth: Ghee
(Images: Faith Durand)