Organic, Grass-Fed Ghee and Butter Oil: What’s the Difference and Which One Is Better for You?

Photo by: Bigstockphoto
Photo by: Bigstockphoto

If you are familiar with ghee, clarified butter, and butter oil, you know that they all look and even taste the same. Although these terms have been used in cooking interchangeably, there is a subtle difference between these kinds of butter oils.

What is Ghee?

Ghee is the same as clarified butter. The only difference between the two is the term used in certain countries. In Southeast Asian cooking, clarified butter is called ghee. Its name originated from Sanskrit and is a staple cooking ingredient in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal.

Ghee is done by simply boiling or heating butter sticks and then removing the milk solids and other residue. The process of removing residue from the heated butter can be done several times to achieve the desired level of pureness. Once all the milk solids are removed, you get nothing from the butter but oil. The result is harder, waxier oil that can be eaten on its own or used for cooking.

What Is Butter Oil?

Butter oil is processed by heating the oil in lower heat. This helps minimize the chances of nutrient loss in the butter. And while ghee turns solid in room temperature, butter oil can maintain its liquid form at room temperature.

Benefits of Both Ghee and Butter Oil

Both butter oil and ghee are ideal for cooking because they do not burn as fast as butter so you don’t need other types of oil to prevent burning. Unlike vegetable oil, ghee and butter oil add richness and decadence to any dish, making them great cooking oil for Asian cuisines. They also keep well. You can stock them up in your fridge and they could be used for a year or so. In room temperature, they last for up to six months.

Which Is Better: Butter Oil or Ghee?

As far as identifying which dairy product is best for you, the result will depend on what you want to get out of each product. Ghee is best for cooking because it’s more stable than vegetable oil and it imparts a delicate flavor to dishes. However, if you are eating for your health, butter oil is more beneficial than ghee.

In cooking, ghee is heated on high temperature — this basically eliminates all its nutritional value. On the other hand, butter oil best eaten raw and this helps maintain its nutritional value.

The Importance of Grass-Fed, Organically Raised Cows

One of the most important elements that increase the nutrient value of dairy products is the source itself, the cows. Most farms tend to raise cows on antibiotics and other chemicals to keep the cows healthy. Unfortunately, traces of these chemicals end up on the cow’s milk. When the milk is processed, it retains these chemicals and consumers end up taking them. Worse, cows are kept in cages or dirty environments that put a lot of stress on the animals and even contaminate the products.

On the other hand, grass-fed cows are only raised through organic means. This includes being free-ranged and not cooped up in cages. The cows are treated humanely for their milk and meats; they are not fed with antibiotics and harmful substances that could end up in the dairy products.

Grass-fed, organically raised cows will yield milk and milk products that are higher in vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Cheese, butter, ghee, and butter oil from grass-fed cows tend to have higher vitamin A and D, vitamin k2, and CLA or conjugated linoleic acid.