Ghee, a shelf-stable version of clarifiied butter is easy to make and even easier to store--even when you don't have a refrigerator in your boat galley.
Cook Time 15minutes
One 500g (1.1 pounds) block of butter
Melt butter in heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat. Bring to a boil, adjusting the heat so that the butter is just boiling. As it boils it will hiss and spit a bit as the moisture is released. Do not cover but continue boiling, stirring occasionally. White foam will build on the top, just scoop this off and toss out, or don’t. Ensure that the butter continues at a low boil but that it is not burning. Each stove is different and generally boat stoves are a bit more finicky, so after approximately 10-15 minutes of boiling the butter will stop hissing. Some recipes say to go as long as 45 minutes but I haven’t found this to be necessary.
Scoop off the white foam and look to see if the milk solids have fallen to the bottom of the pan. You can keep boiling and stirring at this point to ensure all of the moisture is out, but watch it very carefully. The milk solids should turn golden but anything past this is burnt. When the liquid and milk solids are golden remove from heat and let cool slightly. If you do end up burning the milk solids, don’t despair. Follow the rest of the recipe and taste the ghee when it has cooled. There is a good chance that it won’t taste burnt.
Scoop off any white foam that remains in the cooled mixture. Slowly pour the clear golden liquid through a fine mesh filter, a few layers of cheesecloth or paper coffee filter into a clean storage jar. You can eliminate these tools if you’re able to pour the liquid without letting any milk solids or white foam into the jar. These are ok to eat, but they will reduce the shelf life of your ghee.
Store ghee tightly covered in a cool place for 1-2 months (or longer depending on how good of a job you’ve done preparing it). If refrigerated it could last up to a year. Ghee will not be completely solid even when refrigerated. The consistency depends on the ambient temperature but it is generally soft and a bit grainy in nature. Remember to always use a clean, dry utensil to remove ghee.
Ghee will mold if there was any moisture left in the boiled butter or if it is otherwise contaminated. Since I store mine in old salsa jars, which are not airtight, I’ve had mold form on the top. I just scrape it off with a clean spoon and continue to use the ghee.