Cultured ghee, or as it is known in Ayurveda, Ghruta and "liquid gold," is a deeply nourishing substance revered for its medicinal benefits in treating both the mind and body. But what exactly is cultured ghee? How is it different from ghee? Read on to learn about the benefits of cultured ghee and where to buy it.
What Is Cultured Ghee Exactly?
Cultured ghee is ghee that is made from cultured raw milk whereas conventional ghee is made from butter. In the West, the term "cultured" mostly refers to foods that contain live cultures. Cultured ghee or Ghruta don't have these organisms in them, but they have been through a similar fermentation process as the one that leads to foods like kimchi and sauerkraut.
Why Fermentation Is Important
The traditional preparation of cultured ghee begins with raw cow milk that is heated under a low flame to remove impurities. Next, the purified milk is put into earthen pots where it ferments into curd. Ayurveda teaches that fermented foods generally boost agni as they have a bit of the sour taste which is best for building digestive fire long-term. In addition, by fermenting the milk, the lactose sugar found in dairy is converted into lactic acid. Lactic acid is much easier to digest and is beneficial to humans. Then, the curds are churned to make buttermilk and the cultured butter is separated out from the buttermilk. Once the cultured butter is separated out, it is then simmered until the milk solids sink to the bottom of the pot. Then, one strains out the milk solids and what is left is pure ghee or Ghruta.
Benefits of Cultured Ghee
As you can see, making cultured ghee is a time-intensive, thoughtful process. This more careful process comes with benefits: cultured ghee has lactic acid, a unique lipid profile and is more easily digested than most conventional ghee and is therefore less likely to cause a host of issues, such as inflammation, immunological reactions, and buildup of ama (metabolic wastes). It’s important to note that in Ayurveda, cultured ghee is traditionally made from cows that have the A2 protein and a hump on their back, like Gir or Desi cows. These cows should also be free-range, grass-fed, treated as sacred, and milked of their own free will. This ensures the highest quality energetic implications for the milk and ghee. Another benefit of cultured ghee is that it has a longer shelf-life than conventional ghee. According to Ayurveda, cultured ghee has an indefinite shelf life. Furthermore, some say that its medicinal and health benefits actually increase over time.
In general, ghee has many benefits. However, given the advantages of cultured ghee over conventional ghee, there are good reasons to choose cultured ghee if one has the option. PIOR Living makes cultured ghee according to Ayurvedic traditions. Their small batch, hand-crafted Ghruta comes from free-range, forest dwelling Indian Gir cows.