Butter is crazy-difficult to store – we all know that. It goes rancid quickly if not kept cool, and even when kept cool, the length of time you can keep it is pretty short. Canned “survival butter” is expensive and hard to find. So is there butter after the apocalypse?
How would you store it without refrigeration? And if you’re lucky enough to have access to fresh cream, how could you preserve it? And think about this: when you run out of cooking oil and don’t have an oil press, what could you cook with instead?
I’ve found the solution to storing butter for the long-term: Ghee.
What is Ghee? It is simply clarified butter. You melt the butter and remove the solids (either by skimming or straining). The end result is a purified butter,with an intensified flavor and is easy to use. It’s used extensively in Indian cooking and imparts a lovely flavor to every food.
How long will it last? Ghee will last for a long time if kept in a cool dark place. Some folks say it’s indefinite, but I’d say something more like 6 months to a year. I’ve stored mine in my pantry for 6 months and it’s just fine. I’ve got a second jar that will probably won’t be used until it’s a year old, so I’ll update this post once I dig into that jar.
This long shelf life makes it an amazing item to keep in your pantry, and also learn to make (it’s easy).
How do you use ghee? Just like you would any oil or melted butter. At room temps, it’s generally liquid. In colder storage or during the winter, it hardens to a nice, spreadable semi-solid. You can put it in the fridge, and it will get quite hard, just like butter with the solids still in it.
And let me say this emphatically: I cook nearly every meal from scratch. And for the last year, I’ve only bought 2 packs of butter. The rest of my buttery life has been filled with Ghee. I’d say this is a pretty-strong endorsement of ghee, especially since Derrick is from Wisconsin and loves his buttery goodness.
What does ghee taste like? Uber butter. Super duper uber butter. It tastes like the essence of butter. You know that “buttery taste” that we all love? It’s that, and only that, and it’s intensified from butter. Some say it tastes a little nutty, but I really think it depends on the brand of Ghee.
Ghee For Cooking
Ghee has a much higher smoke point than non-clarified butter, so you can cook it a high temps or mix it with lower-smoke point oils such as olive oil. To be technical, the smoke-point of ghee is 250 °C (482 °F), which is well above typical cooking temperatures of around 200 °C (392 °F) and above that of most vegetable oils. So it makes an excellent cooking oil. Use it for popping popcorn, you’ll never go back to oil and you won’t need to add butter to your treat. I keep a jar of ghee next to my stove, and I use it as a general-purpose cooking oil.
Ghee in Baking
Substitute ghee for butter in baking, one-for-one. I’ve used it in cakes, cookies, and even pie crust. It’s best for baked goods that call for melted butter or shortening, but I’ve had no issue with using it in a pie crust – just as long as it’s cold. It makes for AWESOME biscuits – all from your pantry.
Making Ghee vs Buying Ghee
Making ghee is easy and beyond this little article – it’s been done, and it’s all over the internet. Here’s a great making ghee tutorial. I’ve printed this article out and keep it in my prepping docs. In the case of a long-term survival scenario, combine this knowledge with a cow and you’re golden.
So until the SHTF, I buy it. My favorite brand is Nanak. I’ve tried nearly every commercially made ghee, and Nanak’s product is smooth and tastes great. The price is very good too. Remember – this is purified butter, so a little will go a long way. You’ll want to consider that when you look at the price of ghee.
Find ghee at: Indian groceries, Asian groceries, or online. I’ve been buying my ghee entirely at Amazon this year. The price at Amazon is great and so that’s why I buy several at one time.
Other, Surprising Uses for Ghee
Because the solids and water have been removed, ghee is an important multi-tasker. You can apply it to the skin for burns. I know an Indian grocer who swears that his daily use of ghee on his face has kept away wrinkles (and he looks great!). It’s great on your lips (especially if your lovah likes buttah!). Here’s a cute article on uses for ghee.
Do you use ghee? Let me know your experiences – I’d love to know!
And stay tuned, I’ll post some of my favorite ghee recipes – all from the pantry.
With ghee, you’ll be able to store butter for after the apocalypse, and if you can get a hold of a cow, you’ll be able to preserve your cow’s product.
Thanks for stopping by!
Found you via Survival Sherpa’s Twitter feed! I’ve subscribed to your blog via Feedly and I’ve subscribed to your Twitter feed. I, too, am a happy, positive prepper 🙂
Nancy, great article! I love ghee for cooking. I never tried it on my skin. I usually use coconut oil on my head and face after shaving. I’ll try my ghee. I’ve wanted to try and make my own ghee. You’ve inspired me to try it.
Keep doing the stuff,