Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ghee ("clarified butter") for Long-Term Storage

Ghee ("clarified butter") for Long-Term Storage

Ghee originated in South Asia and is very popular in Indian cooking and is long thought to have health benefits (I won't get into that).  It's pure butter fat and is often called "clarified butter" or "drawn butter".  It is butter that has had the milk solids and water removed.  Apparently, technically, ghee isn't clarified butter but beyond clarified butter (processed longer) but I won't get that nit picky.  ;)

Ok, this is where it gets sticky.  I'd love to tell you the shelf-life of ghee, but there is a lot of conflicting information out there!  There are "prepper" type sites that sell canned ghee and say it has a shelf-life of 20-30 years.  I read in other places that it has a 10-15 year shelf-life and still in other places that it is good "indefinitely" and "nonperishable".  (I've seen recipes for canning regular butter that is supposed to be good for 2-3 years, but the government warns against this as not being safe; but, if there are people out there canning regular butter for 2-3 years then, certainly, properly prepared and stored ghee should be good for AT LEAST that long.)  I'm no expert and you need to use your own discretion on this; but after all the reading I've done on it, (and I did a lot) I'm confident it should be good (properly) canned and stored for at least a few years, possibly decades.  Someone on a message board claimed that 1,000-year-old ghee was found in a grave and was still good.  Well, I don't know about that.  lol  

According to this very long article (click here), "100-year-old ghee is highly valued in India and fetches a very high price".  *I didn't read it all.)

According to this article (click here), "In India it is sometimes stored in the open (not in cans or refrigerated) for several months to a years."   

This web site  (click here) says it stores for "several decades". 

...and so on.

This company (click here) that makes ghee and is popular with many "prepper" sites says "a harmless mold could eventually grow in the ghee".  They simply say it has a "long shelf life".

Here is a short video on making it.   Video

(A friend said she had trouble with the video above but it's simple to make, just do the following. You can search youtube for videos too.)

I did 2 pounds of unsalted butter.

You want to cook it for 30-45 minutes on low without stirring it, but don't burn it and turn it a dark color.  If you are doing this to store long-term, go the extra mile to cook it good.  

Careful because it can suddenly sputter up even on low heat.  (The Ghee Monster.)  

 My pan actually came clean pretty easy. 
You have to spoon off the white solids as it cooks.


Isn't it purrrty?  I got  1 pint and a 1/2 pint out of it.
I'll put them in a box in my pantry since they should be stored out of the light.
I heated the jars to sterilize them and boiled the lids also. 

You want to use unsalted butter.  I used my fairly heavy duty glass pan as my copper bottomed ones would probably burn it on the bottom too easily.  Plus, it's prettier in pictures.  ;)  Turns out, I'll use an even bigger pan next time as it made quite a mess on my stove.  You need to spoon off the white solids on the top as it cooks.  You can strain it through multi-layered cheese cloth, a coffee filter (need to get myself some), or a thin muslin cloth.  I didn't let it cool much, like the lady in the video said, as I wanted it nice and hot to go in my nice hot jars and the lids sealed just a few minutes later. ::pop::  ::pop::

 If you use ghee in your cooking, you can make it much cheaper than you can buy it.  

*You can also add coconut oil to the ghee and mix well as it cools.  Mix in about a cup (or less, up to you) per pound of butter. 

Thanks for checking out my blog.  

Please feel free to leave a comment, tip, or suggestion below.  :)


  1. How long does the ghee keep for?

  2. I wrote about that in the blog because people don't seem to agree on that. I believe it should last a long time if stored well. :)

  3. Great info ! I opened a jar of DESI brand Ghee ... It had been on my shelf for 4 years (unrefrigerated) it was still perfectly good. Amazing with fish or seafood !

  4. Great info, but Ghee and Clarified Butter are not the same thing. When making true Ghee you want to caramelize the solids to a deep brown (not black, there is a fine line), it ends up with a deep nutty flavor and the aroma of toffee.

    I have a jar of homemade ghee in my pantry that is at least 3 years old and it is still good.

  5. Yeah, I've heard people argue about whether or not you can call it clarified butter but that's why I put it in quotes. A lot of people call it that. I don't think it's a biggie either way. ;)

  6. Heya, great article. Cool to know the whispers of things such as 1000 year old ghee!! Woah :D

    A little thought for you,
    I have made ghee quite a few times and the final product that you pour,
    I believe it should be clear, this is an indication that the water content and milk solids is removed. The pictures above show your ghee is still cloudy.

    Clarified butter still has some milk solids and water in it, think that's what you have made above. Ghee has a higher smoke point and more stable because its just butterfat, thus its more stable, higher smoke point etc etc

    Hope this bit of info is helpful.

    1. Hi. Thanks. That's why "clarified butter" is in quotes. A lot of people cal it that but it isn't technically clarified all the way. :)

  7. I really liked your recipe clarified butter, its very tasty and we as a family enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us. I recommend it for everyone to try once its a very amazing. Milk Powder

  8. I really liked your recipe desi ghee, its very tasty and we as a family enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us. I recommend it for everyone to try once its a very amazing.

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