Sunday, January 30, 2011

Canning Ghee

Ghee sitting on the kitchen counter cooling. It will turn white completely white when I take it to the basement storage room.
After learning how wonderful ghee is, I had to look up to see if you could can it. Sure enough, ghee can be canned. With all I've learned lately, I now know ghee is going to become a basic part of my cooking. I've used extra virgin olive oil for years thinking I was doing a good thing since it was simply pressed and no chemicals used to extract the oil. What I didn't take the time to learn was the smoke point. OOOSP!! the experts recommend that you use extra virgin for salad dressings and light sauces -- not for deep fat frying or baking at temperatures 350 or greater. Well, dummy here was using it for everything despite its cost all while thinking I was saving our health. Not!! Not even those wonderful home-made buttermilk pancakes were as healthy as I thought since they were fried at 350F. So now I'm rethinking my oil use since I'm not willing to buy light olive oils even though their smoke point goes up to 468F and canola oil is highly processed too so its out though I had been using it in baked goods mainly because of the price of olive oil. The manufacturers just can't remove all the chemicals they use to extract the oil from the plants and I've wanted to find a way clear of using the canola oil and light olive oil and now I've a nutritious solution --ghee.

Ghee depending on the purity smoke point goes from 375 to 485F falling well within my cooking range. Besides it is one more thing I can do myself and not be depend on others to provide for me.

But, goat butter isn't available all of the year when you are producing your own. For two or three months goats are dry before kidding. Then after kidding, the young are bottle fed for two months, making it four or five months of no milk, -- no milk, no butter. That's a third of the year. My plan is to eventually get two goats going where the gap of when we are without milk is either zero or only one month. One month in which I've enough frozen milk, butter, and cream, in the freezer to tide us over. That would mean kidding early in the spring - April and then July in the summer.

We presently have one three year old doe freshening in April and two coming yearlings which will freshen for the first time in May. One of the yearlings I will sell not needing quite that much milk and by next year I hope to have the two remaining does on schedule.

Enough of my plans, what you are wanting is the directions to how to can your own ghee so you can include it in your own cooking goals of self-sufficiency.

I took most of the butter I'd frozen in the freezer and put it in my milk pot. The one I heat milk in prior to separating.

I melted it on about 3 on my electric stove, a higher temperature than the 1 I set the stove on with just one pound of butter. As it began to boil, I turned it down. Lots of foam will form on top as the butter separates into water, oil, and milk solids but don't worry just keep cooking away.
The foam calms down as the water boils off.When done, the milk solids are browned on the bottom leaving an oil that can be used by lactose intolerant people. In an emergency, this oil can be also used in a lamp for fuel - handy stuff. Now none of these instructions are anything new since I've already told you about making butter so refer back to that post for detailed instructions. You go on from here to straining the oil like before but you place it in sterilized jars. I used half pints to minimize the chance of moisture causing the ghee to go bad before the jar is all used up. With moisture in mind, I used a hair dryer turned on high blowing the air inside the jars to make sure they were completely dry since water invites bacterial growth.

Now canning ghee is nothing new to you who can a lot but where typical canning differs with ghee is that I boiled my lids but then dried them with clean paper towels and used the hair dryer once more make sure the moisture was evaporated off. After placing the lids on top of the jars, I put the jars in to a boiling water bath canner, allowing two inches of boiling water to cover the jars. I processed them for 10 minutes and voila, that was it. Easy peasy as Cindy says.
I should have plenty to get me by until I'm making butter again.
One of these days, I'm going to get a chart made to help with the uses for goat milk. You know, whole milk makes buttermilk, light cream - sour cream, heavy cream -butter, whole milk - cheese, but there's one you make with whey ( I've done it but I can't remember which type of milk product I use.) etc. etc.
Plus, the recipes for the ones I make often I need in a handy booklet so that I'm getting the full use of my milk because this brain just can't store all the information I need. The files just keep getting lost up there.
Another goal this year is to make cream cheese, something I just never got to this year. And I can't remember what I made ricotta cheese with, was it whole milk, no--- I think it was skimmed milk. See, I've just got to get better organized to better use my resources. Prices of food are going to climb and I know Kirk's income won't keep pace. It already isn't. That's where I've got to shrink our dependence on store products making us less vulnerable to the changes.

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