What is Ghee Smoke Point, and Why Does it Matter?
You may have heard by now that a high smoke point is a desirable quality in a fat you will use for high-heat cooking. But do you really know why smoke point matters? And why is ghee smoke point special? Keep reading to learn more, and get our recipe for Zucchini Fritters. The recipe is a great way to take advantage of both late-summer bounty and ghee’s high smoke point!
Why You Should Be Aware of Your Cooking Fat’s Smoke Point
Most cooking oils come from plants, and are made by mechanically crushing and pressing nuts or seeds to extract their oils. If this oil is bottled and sold as-is, it is known as “cold pressed” or “virgin” oil. The minerals and enzymes these oils contain can be destroyed by heat. If you heat these types of oil to the point that they are smoking, you have likely lost their most important nutritional components. If it continues to burn, the fats will start to break down, releasing free radicals and imparting a bitter flavor to your food.
Oils with low smoke points of around 350 degrees include virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and sesame oil, as well as butter. You may notice that these are some of the most flavorful cooking fats. Due to their low smoke point, they are best suited for low-heat cooking or raw use, such as drizzling over salads or baked goods.
Ghee Smoke Point: Perfect for High-Heat Cooking
If you want to make a recipe like our Zucchini Fritters, below, you will want your oil nice and hot for frying. So, what to do? You could use an industrially refined oil like sunflower, safflower or canola. These oils have been heated, bleached, and/or filtered to extract the compounds that break down at high heats. However, these oils may be dangerously high in Omega-6 fatty acids, and have been linked to increased risk of heart disease and cancer. (Source: Healthline)
Our solution? Ghee smoke point and flavor are both appropriate for high-heat cooking. Ghee has a smoke point of 482 degrees, which is higher than any other cooking oil except safflower and rice bran. And unlike industrial seed and nut oils with comparable high smoke points, during the ghee-making process, butter only needs to be simmered over gentle heat to separate out the compounds that burn (aka milk solids). The pure fat left behind is delicious and buttery tasting. This is what we fill our jars with at Full Moon Ghee, with a ghee smoke point of 482 degrees.
The Recipe: Zucchini Fritters
Ghee smoke point is well suited to these crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside flavorful fritters!
- 3 medium zucchini, grated
- ½ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- ⅓ cup ghee for frying
- Squeeze as much moisture as possible out of grated zucchini by wringing it dry in a clean kitchen towel. Gently combine zucchini with egg, flour, baking powder, salt and pepper.
- Heat ghee in a wide skillet until a drop of water sizzles when added to the pan. Working in batches, add ¼-cup scoops of batter to the pan and flatten slightly. Fry until golden brown and crisp, about 3 minutes per side. If necessary, add more ghee to the pan between batches.
- Drain on paper towels or paper bags. Sprinkle with salt. Serve hot.
Sources for This Article:
Cooking Fats 101 – Serious Eats
Healthy Cooking Oils – Healthline