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How to store ghee? Ghee Rancidity?

Properly made ghee, and properly stored ghee remains good and does not become rancid for several decades at room temperature.
For long term storage, use an opaque container with air tight closure and store in dark cool dry place.

'Properly-made' ghee must meet all the three following criteria
1. All the moisture must have been removed.
2. After the moisture has evaporated, the milk-solids must have been toasted at  250 F till fully caramelized.
3. All the milk-solids must have been removed.
The ghee must be butter-fat without any moisture and milk-solids.


Ghee Rancidity

There are three types of rancidity: Hydrolytic, Oxidative, and Microbial

Oxidative Rancidity

Oxidation may be the major cause of rancidity for ghee even after it has been made properly. 65% of fat in ghee is saturated fat, thus resistant to oxidation. 32% of fat in ghee are monounsaturated. One molecule of monounsaturated fat contains one double bond, making it somewhat vulnerable to oxidation. 3% of fat in ghee are polyunsaturated. Each molecule of polyunsaturated fat has more than one double bond making it most reactive to oxidation.
The following points should be noted about oxidation
1. Ghee made from cow milk has natural carotene that acts as an anti-oxidant and retards oxidation process. The carotene shows up visually as a yellow tint to ghee. Cows fed on grass have the highest amount of carotene, On the other hand, ghee made from goat milk has almost no carotene.
2. Ghee has small amount of natural Vitamin E, it acts as anti-oxidant and retards oxidation process.
3. The UV rays from sunlight, florescent lights, and other sources accelerate oxidation process. The storage container container for ghee must be opaque to filter out UV rays. Preferably ghee must be stored in a dark place
4. Heat accelerates oxidation process. Temperatures over 150 F s. Ideally ghee must be stored in a dark place with ambient temperature near or below 68 F.


Hydrolytic Rancidity

Hydrolytic rancidity is caused by moisture in the Ghee. For proper ghee making, all the moisture must have been evaporated. Moisture may still enter accidentally with a wet spoon, or through condensation. The water splits the fatty acid chain away from the glycerol backbone resulting in hydrolytic rancidity. The moisture also results in auto-oxidation.

Microbial Rancidity

Microbial rancidity is caused by breakdown of microorganisms. If the milk-solids are not browned and completely removed, they may break down causing microbial rancidity

Storage jar materials

The jars must be water proof, opaque, with an air-tight closure

Short term storage

Traditionally, glazed porcelain jars (Imrit Baan), or freshly fired earthen-pots (Handiya) are used at home. The pores in the Handiya get clogged with ghee. In United Stated, In United States, you can buy 'Pickling Crocks' as a substitute.

Long term storage for home made ghee

You can use colored glass jars or bottles. Colored glass jars/bottles help filter-out UV rays. The common colors are: Blue, Green, and Amber. The jars must be fitted with snap-top locking wire-bail (metal clasp).
I buy empty heavy green color wine glass bottles and corks. Fill the bottle to about 2" from the opening, and tightly fit the cork flush with opening. Tilt the bottle to coat the exposed cork with ghee. You can store these bottles for decades in your basement. Lay the bottles on the side so that the cork remains coated with ghee. You can buy wine-bottles and matching corks on the internet.

Commercial Containers

Commercial containers are tin cans with hermitically sealed lids. Some of the commercial container are plastic or glass jars with vacuum sealed lids. Unfortunately, most of the glass containers are 'clear' and don't protect ghee from oxidation by UV rays.


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