And all the ways to use Ancient Organics Ghee this fall!
You may know ghee as an ingredient that appears on menus at your favorite Indian restaurant. Indeed, it's been a key part of Ayurveda, India's ancient medical science, for thousands of years as a symbol of good things to come, nourishment and healing.
Ayurvedic practitioners see ghee as an essential component of a balanced diet, the best kind of fat you can eat.
Here at Corganic, we're enamored with the handcrafted ghee by Ancient Organics, a Berkeley, California-based company founded by two Ayurvedic practitioners that's keeping the true Indian traditions of creating ghee alive.
The result is an incomparably rich, silky fat derived from 100% organic, sweet churned cream butter cooked low and slow over an open flame until the moisture has evaporated and the milk solids and other impurities are removed.
"It's totally changed my life in terms of my excitement around cooking, not to mention the overall understanding of the way that fat is an integral part of people's health. It's been a tradition in every part of the world except for the U.S, and it's time we changed that."
- Tim Transon, Ancient Organics
We agree, and it's why we're featuring Ancient Organics Ghee as one of our top featured products — and offering our delicious and nutritious recipe for ghee pumpkin bread to fill your belly with the warm and fuzzy comfort of the fall season.
You can also read on for an interview about Ancient Organics and its delightful product with Tim.
First, here are a few reasons why we love this ghee so much — and why many believe it's better than butter!
It's rich in nutrients. Ghee is similar to clarified butter, but it retains more vitamins and other nutrients because it's cooked at lower temperatures. It contains full spectrum short-, medium- and long-chain fatty acids, both unsaturated and saturated, which support heart health and healthy blood sugar levels.* It contains omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids, as well as vitamins A, D, E and K, with nine phenolic antioxidants. Because this ghee is made from organic butter produced by pastured cows, it's one of the highest natural sources of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may help support a healthy weight and muscle tone, and has anti-inflammatory properties.*
It's a good fat. Each jar is adorned with the slogan "Eat Good Fat." While researchers spent years warning Americans against eating calorie-dense fats, modern research shows that eating fat-rich foods can improve the bioavailability and absorption of vitamins and minerals. Ancient cultures all had their own important sources of fat — think Aboriginals with the emu, Vikings and Scandinavians with fresh cod liver oil and Inuits with seals. That's because fat is an essential source of energy, and it's necessary to build cell membranes, the cell exterior and the sheaths surrounding nerves.* It's also essential for the body's ability to form blood clots, for muscle movement and for reducing inflammation.*
Ancient Organics uses butter from an organic dairy farm with pasture-raised cows. The source of the butter is Straus Family Creamery, which became the first certified organic dairy farm west of the Mississippi in 1994, and established their creamery the same year as the first 100% certified organic creamery in the U.S. All dairy cows from Straus' nine family farms are treated according to USDA organic standards, which ensures they're raised organically, have access to pasture, and never receive antibiotics, hormones or genetically modified feeds. In addition, Straus became the first Non-GMO Project Verified Creamery in North America in 2010. They also power their facility with electricity generated from solar panels and methane gas generated by cow manure. And they reuse 94% of the water from the creamery on the farm to generate electricity and to irrigate fields.
It's ghee of the highest quality. Ancient Organics makes its ghee in small batches over an open flame, whereas mass-produced ghee is made with steam in huge kettles. Its monthly production schedule also highlights the changes in the pasture environment of the coastal prairie of the Bay Area. As for the source butter itself, Straus Family Creamery operates two 1950s-era batch churns, which are increasingly rare in the butter production industry. Their butter has won awards for "Best Butter in America" and it won the "One of the Top Premium Butters in America" by Food & Wine Magazine. It also has a butterfat content of 85%, reflecting their commitment to quality and the balanced diet of their cows.
It's delicious! This ghee has an incomparable flavor, adding a rich, toasty nuttiness that's reminiscent of caramel as a spread or cooking fat. Try it spread on toast by itself with some sea salt, or topped with this raw Sage Honey from Honey Pacifica. You can also find many real food recipes with ghee from Ancient Organics.
- It's great for cooking and baking. It's flash point of 485℉ makes it one of the highest among cooking fats, meaning it doesn't burn easily; a great choice for high-temperature cooking. It's also great as a substitute for the fat in your baked goods.
How to use ghee in some of your favorite fall treats
As we mentioned above, we’re excited to use Ancient Organics Ghee right now in this easy, delicious and Paleo-approved ghee pumpkin bread.
You can also use it in Bulletproof-style coffee, in two-ingredient Paleo caramel candy (just ghee and dates!), and to slowly caramelized fresh figs — with chopped dark chocolate atop.
For the holidays, you can roast your turkey legs with ghee for an incredibly crispy skin.
Tim Transon of Ancient Organics on why ghee makes even his dogs salivate
We're excited to share an inside look at Ancient Organics and its ghee from Tim Transon.
Q. Can you tell our readers how Ancient Organics got started?
A. Ancient Organics started basically in a garage. An Ayurvedic practitioner named Peter Malakoff, who was based in Marin County, started making ghee under the Ancient Organics name as part of his practice. In Ayurveda, it's very traditional for practitioners to make ghee for their students, both to be used as medicine and in the rituals of Ayurveda. But also because the process itself of making ghee is considered a very important one for an Ayurvedic practitioner.
He started working with Matteo (Girard Maxon, the current owner) soon after starting the company. They met through an unrelated carpentry project and became friends. Peter invited Matteo to come and make ghee with him on the weekends. He was doing this still just for students and friends and family, and Matteo spent several weekends doing it, learning the craft and falling in love with ghee. He was working in sculpture and in carpentry at the time but had a strong tie to food service, because his father had run a restaurant and a brewery; and to Ayurveda through his mother, so there was an instant connection there. And when Peter decided to move to India, Matteo took on the Ancient Organics brand, hopped in the saddle and has steered the ship for about nine years now.
It's hard for me — having never met Peter but also knowing Matteo so well now — hard to believe that he's not the founder of this company because he's so completely invested in it emotionally, as well as having put so much of his time, blood, sweat and tears into it. He's taken what was essentially a hobby project and turned it into an incredible and supportive business.
Q. Where do you source the butter used to make ghee?
A. All of our butter comes from Marin, Humboldt and Sonoma counties. We're based in Berkeley, and our entire supply chain is local to the Bay Area. We've been long-standing partners with Straus Family Farms up in Marshall, who are just complete visionaries as far as the organic movement and sustainability movement within the dairy industry. Certainly, we've tried to model our business practices and our practices at large after what they're doing, because they are exemplary.
Q. What makes Strauss Family Farms butter superior?
A. For one, it's organic. Obviously, it's in the name of Ancient Organics. The company was named as such in reference to the fact that all that was ancient was organic, but also is a commitment to what we are doing.
Ultimately the quality of (Strauss Family Farms) butter comes from small batches and the quality of their milk. You can draw this really clear line of supply between the best ghee coming from the best butter and the best butter coming from the best milk. They get year-round access to pasture. Those cows eat better than me, I think. They have nutritionists on site, and the temperate climate and terroir up there give sort of a coastal prairie-type ecosystem. So they're just feasting on wonderful grass and silage all year round. That gives you higher vitamin content in the butter, it gives you a really wonderful color and flavor, and all of that is really instrumental in making the best ghee.
Q. Can you tell us how the ghee is created?
A. We make our ghee with an ancient process. Ghee has been around for over 8,000 years, and we still use an open flame and traditional methods to essentially cook butter to evaporate out the water naturally present there, to caramelize the milk sugars, and then physically separate the proteins and the milk solids. The process of making ghee is ultimately a form of clarifying the oil or fat of butter by separating it from all the other parts.
Q. How does your ghee stand out from other brands?
A. There are two ways to look at that. There are our attributes, the fact that we are local to the Bay Area, from the source of milk all the way to production, which happens in northwest Berkeley. We are a mission-driven company that is devoted to creating sustainable inner-city jobs and to supporting our local community through farmers markets and local independent businesses, and so on. The ghee is organic, which is ever more difficult in the world of dairy, where organic milk has been in short supply and butter, being a concentration of milk from a supply chain perspective, has been even harder to find.
So you have all of that on one hand. But the other, most important part (in my opinion), is it's just the best. The taste, the aroma, the experience when you're cooking with it, the texture. All the elements of the product are the fruits of Matteo's dedication to perfection and the very careful way in which he has formulated the blend of butters, the method in which we cook — the vessels, the timing, the process we use. All of that results in something that is a delight to play with in the kitchen or just spread, drizzle or dip.
Q. Do you have any go-to recipes or ways to use the ghee?
A. (Laughs) It's only the first half of a recipe, but it's basically the first half of any recipe in my house, which is ghee, garlic and onions, in the frying pan.
That sounds good.
You can go to tacos, you can go to spaghetti, you can go to curry or stir fry from there, but if you start there man, it's like my dogs are sitting there staring up at the stove, my girlfriend's wandering downstairs, just the aroma is amazing. It's a really powerful foundation for your cooking.
Roasting, I do a lot of roasting of vegetables in the house: Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, that sort of stuff. And ghee taken directly on the spoon is just divine as well.