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Here at Chiot’s Run we use only butter, olive oil, and coconut oil. We use mostly butter since I can find fresh local butter from pastured cows, in the summer it’s a deep golden yellow, and tastes heavenly, the pale white supermarket butter doesn’t even come close to the grassy goodness of pastured butter. Some of this butter is made with unpasteurized milk here at home, some is lightly pasteurized and purchased from a small local dairy. Our homemade raw milk butter is used on toast and anywhere it’s not going to be cooked so we can take advantage of all the good cultures in it.

I try to stock up on butter when I know the cows are out feasting on fresh juicy grass. I freeze some and I make a few quart jars of ghee to get us through the winter until the grass is green again and the cows are making rich yellow butter. Ghee is basically clarified butter or pure butter fat. Because the milk solids have been removed it has a higher smoking point (won’t burn as easily as butter) and it is shelf stable, so it keeps much longer than butter. It’s super easy to make and it’s a delicious addition to many dishes, and it’s especially great for making popcorn.

To make ghee you need unsalted butter, you can use fresh homemade butter or store bought butter. I’d recommend finding some good quality local pastured butter of course, but you can use the regular stuff from the grocery. The final flavor and color of your ghee will depend on the quality of your butter. I use at least a pound of butter, usually two. Generally two pounds of butter will yield a quart of ghee. Put the butter in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, it will sputter a bit so you want some extra room and a taller pan. Then place the pot on medium heat and melt the butter without stirring.

When you first melt it, foam will appear. The butter will sputter a bit, this is the water boiling out of the butter. Gradually as you boil the butter the foam will disappear and you’ll end up with a beautiful golden liquid that smells wonderfully buttery! Keep an eye on your ghee, you don’t want to end up with browned butter ghee. It usually takes between 20-30 minutes depending on the temperature and the amount of butter you’re melting.

It’s time to remove from the heat when you see golden brown milk solids on the bottom of the pot. You can use a spoon to move some of the foam aside to keep an eye on the milk solids. You want to remove from heat before the milk solids become too brown. Pour through a strainer fitted with some several layers of cheesecloth to strain out the butter solids (which our pets love). Then pour the ghee into a jar or container of your choice, I prefer a wide mouth mason jar.

You’ll end up with the most beautiful golden liquid. This liquid will harden when it cools becoming opaque. Depending on the temperature of your home your final product can be between the consistency of a thick liquid that you can pour to a scoopable thickness. Your ghee does not need to be refrigerated, but you can if you want to. You can use ghee like you use oil, for frying eggs, making popcorn and sauteing veggies. It makes a wonderful addition to just about any dish.

Have you ever had or made ghee?

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op, and you can follow me on Twitter.

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Over the years I’ve learned to make a lot of stuff here at home, not just food, but staples as well like: powdered sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, yeast, etc. Not only do you save money, you also save in packaging meaning less trash in the landfill. It’s more convenient to make them up in small batches and you have fresher products. Here’s one of them that I posted on my blog a while ago. I posted this on my blog a while ago and thought it was relevant for the Real Food Challenge.

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There are lots of things you can make at home for much less than you can buy them at the store. Not only does it save money, but it saves time as well. No more quick trips to the store to get brown sugar when you start baking and realize you’re out. I’ve been making my own brown sugar for quite a while, mostly because it can be difficult to find organic brown sugar when you live in a rural area and it’s pretty expensive when you do actually find it! I definitely couldn’t get organic brown sugar for less than $1.50/lb, which is about what this costs me.

To make your own brown sugar all you need is white sugar and molasses. I use organic evaporated cane juice sugar (not Sucanat) and unsulphered organic blackstrap molasses. The general recipe is 1 cup of sugar and 2 Tablespoons of molasses. You can adjust the molasses amount or use a different kind of molasses to suit your tastes. I’m partial to blackstrap or sorghum molasses. I also like to use at least 2 Tablespoons or a bit more, since I like dark brown sugar.

After adding the molasses to the sugar all you have to do is mix. This can take a while, you can use a mixer if you’re making a large amount, the whisk attachment works very well for this task. Mixing by hand is also fine, I like using a fork for this method. Don’t worry if you have small lumps of molasses in the final product, I usually don’t mix until completely combined.

Another added benefit to making brown sugar at home, is that it’s always fresh. It smells wonderful and it’s always nice and soft. It has a much deeper flavor than store-bought brown sugar, which I really appreciate!

Now you can add this to the growing list of things you can make at home. You’ll have a constant supply of fresh brown sugar for baking all kinds of delicious goodies.

Have you ever made brown sugar at home? Any other great things you make at home you’d love to share?

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op, and you can follow me on Twitter.

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