A Gallon of Ghee

Among the other wondrous things you can find at Costco these days is this half-gallon container of ghee, or clarified butter. The gigantic jar you see above cost just a hair under $10.

Considering the price of butter at the grocery store -- four sticks of Land o' Lakes cost me roughly $4 last weekend -- and the amount you're getting with the giant jar of ghee above, you're already looking at a pretty good deal. But what makes ghee extra special are three additional benefits.

Number one, the way that ghee is made -- boiling off water and separating the cow's milk solids from the rest of the butter -- means that it has a very high smoke point. All the annoying snapping, popping and spattering you get from frying or sauteing with regular butter? Barely exists with ghee. It's also great for baking, with a sweet and nutty flavor that is wonderful in pie crust.

Number two, the lack of milk solids and caseins means that ghee is much easier to digest -- as is goat's milk butter -- for people who are lactose intolerant. (Not to mention it's better for you in general than most margarines.)

And number three, when kept in an airtight container (such as the one shown above), ghee will keep unrefrigerated for two to three months. In the refrigerator, it will last for about a year. That is, if you can keep it around that long after tasting the stuff.

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