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Ghee vs. butter vs. oil for sauteing?

topic posted Tue, December 12, 2006 - 1:55 PM by  MZ
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I've recently started using ghee to sautee, and the flavor is wonderful. Does anyone know if there are any health differences between using ghee, butter, or oil to sautee? Thanks.
posted by:
MZ
offline MZ
Boston
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  • Unsu...
     
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarified_butter

    as i mentioned before it has a higher smoke point, which means that it should be used to sautee whatever instead of using oils which can break up and burn at a lower temperature, where I work we use it all the time, we clarify five pounds at a time and use it throughout the week, it can be stored at room temperature because of the lack of milk solids it is more stable and does not go rancid unlike regular butter....

    if you make your own you should only use unsalted butter as you will notice when you clarify it it is substantially smaller because of the amount of salt they use to preserve it.

    i haven;t had much luck making things like pie crust because it is more liquid and the milk solids acctually help to stablize it and saponifying it is not as satisfying for the same reason.... does any of that make sense?
  • Yeah, I agree, ghee has some great flavor.

    Are there any health differences with regards to sauteeing? Hmm... There's one I can think of one right off the bat, but I'm guessing it won't be a significant factor with whatever oils you're considering using. The thing is that heating an edible oil tends to destroy the omega-3s in it, which is why if you're looking to increase the ratio of omega-3s you consume using flaxseed or walnut oil, both good omega-3 sources, cooking with them won't help you any. There are probably some other chemical changes that sauteeing causes that might be relevant to your health question, but I can't confidently comment on them at the moment because I haven't looked into them much. So my point is that sauteeing would eliminate the favorable ratio of omega-3 (to omega-6 and omega-9, if I recall correctly) advantage of some vegetable oils, which you probably wouldn't be using for sauteeing anyway.

    Now, there are some health differences between ghee/butter and vegetable oil regardless of what temperatures you're exposing them to. First, Ghee and butter contain cholesterol, whereas no vegetable oils do. Next, the fats you listed have different levels of saturation, with the consensus being that less saturation is better if you're an adult eating a typical modern diet. I can't say how vegetable oil compares to ghee/butter with regards to saturation though, since veggie oils vary widely in saturation, with some, like coconut oil, having more saturated fat than butter, or even lard, and some having less.
    • off the top of my head i'd say with sauteeing with butter, if the veggies are going to be kept as leftovers, my experience is that the butter doesn't reheat as well.

      so either ghee or veggie oil (my fave is grapeseed oil) would be better for things that would be leftover (that would also count for soup; i love butter, but i've tried sauteed veggies in butter as a soup base, and when i try to reheat it, yuk!).
      • MZ
        MZ
        offline 27
        so I guess if one wants to use an oil one should use one with a higher smoking point. I know that peanut oil is good for that and therefore not actually use olive oil for sauteeing. I'll have to try the grapeseed oil. and i guess the ghee has a higher smoking point than butter and therefore doesn't breakdown in the pan as quickly. wow. things i never knew. that is so great. thank you very much for all the great info.

        also, has anyone tried sauteing with vegetable broth, i only heard that it is very good.

        thanks
        • you'd still want a little oil in the pan, even if you want to use the veggie broth, just to keep things from sticking...though when i saute veggies, i want them a little browned, so i'd brown them first before adding veggie broth (which actually sounds more like poaching to me).

          if you're using peanut oil....be sure you're not cooking for anyone who's allergic to peanuts ;-.
          the higher smoking point is also a good thing if your smoke alarm is conveniently located too close to the kitchen! which is the main reason i don't use the olive oil (the 2nd being i don't always want the heavier taste on my veggies....but sometimes, for instance if i'm doing a pasta primavera, i DO want the olive oil taste).

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