Gir Cow Ghee and the Bilona Method
Ghee pre-dates the use of regular cooking oils since it holds a special place in Ayurvedic tradition. It has a smooth taste, consistency and colour. Known to contain healthy saturated fat, unsaturated fats and cholesterol, ghee is rich in vitamin K12 and also aids the cardiovascular system while keeping the digestive system in a good state.
Since ghee breaks down milk solids, it is considered good for lactose intolerant individuals. Himalayan Natives A2 Gir Cow Ghee is derived from the high breed Gir cow, famous for producing A2 milk. Milk of the indigenous breeds of cows has been deemed healthier than that of European varieties.
About the Gir Cattle
The Gir cattle is a famous dairy cattle, and is one of the principal Zebu or Bos Indicus breeds in India. The Gir hills along with the forests of Kathiar are the primary regions of habitation. In Gujarat, the districts of Amreli, Bhavnagar, Junagadh and Rajkot are the most known regions.
Even outside India, Gir cattle exists in places such as United States, Mexico, Venezuela and Brazil due to imports. The breed was also one of the cattle breeds used in the development of the Brahman cattle in North America.
Brahman Cattle – The breed originated from the Zebu cattle of Asia, upon being selectively bred from Indian strains of Kankrej, Ongole, Gir and Gujarat cattle.
If you were to visit any of the regions which breed Gir Cow, here is a description of how one could identify a Gir cow.
- Gir cattle is distinctive in appearance and their body is well proportioned.
- Their body color ranges from shining red to spotted white. With a soft, thin and glossy skin, they have a big head with a prominent bulging shield and long face. One of the most unusual features of the Gir Cow is its convex forehead. This makes their forehead work as cooling radiator for the brain and the pituitary gland.
- Their long ears function as excellent fly and insect swatters. Their eyes are hooded and black pigmented with ample loose skin around their eyes. They also have hard feet which are black in color.
- The horns of Gir cattle are thick at the base. It is interesting to note that their horns grow downwards and backwards with an upward curve. Their hump is particularly large. A Gir cow weighs around 385 kg.
Benefits of A2 Gir Cow Ghee
Ghee of the indigenous Gir Cow helps rid the body of toxins by lubricating the colon lining which eases digestion. A daily supplement of Gir cow ghee helps to keep joints supple and takes care of minor common ailments such as insomnia. Ghee naturally contains butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid that primarily promotes better digestion by aiding the maintenance of the colon in the digestive tract.
1. This ghee incorporates vitamin A2, E and D with Omega3 properties which are highly important and beneficial for a healthy lifestyle.
3. The presence of A2 vitamin in Gir cow ghee helps in strengthening bones.
4. This ghee is beneficial in treating insomnia. It is also the best product for joint massage and most importantly it is beneficial for those who are prone to obesity.
5. Gir cow ghee is helpful in decreasing bad cholesterol in the body and facilitates excellent blood circulation.
6. This ghee incorporates healthy fat-soluble vitamins that facilitate the absorption of nutrients in food that are most vital for health.
7. In medical practice, Ghee is used to help with ulcers and constipation. It also promotes healthy eyes and clear skin along with curing burns and blisters. It also balances the mind and enhances brain function.
8. It contains conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) which has been believed to be helpful for weight loss over a period of time. Gir cow ghee also helps in the prevention of heart diseases since it aids in resolving the clogging of arteries.
9. This ghee melts at 37 degree Celsius, whereas our body temperature is 37.2 degree Celsius. This means that it gets easily absorbed in the body while commercial ghee melts at approx. 39 degree Celsius or above. A resultant higher body temperature can increase blood pressure and cause other diseases as well.
10. Ghee is highly beneficial in improving the immune system of children from an early age.
Bilona Method of Preparation
The Himalayan Natives A2 Gir cow ghee is also produced through the conventional method of using yogurt, i.e the Bilona Method.
To start with, milk is boiled in earthen pots and is then set overnight to produce curd. The curd is then churned with a wooden churner, post which the resultant cream is heated. After the curd is churned, the default method of creating traditional clarified butter comes into play – evaporating the water and letting the fat get separated from the milk solids. At the end of it all, we get around a kilo of ghee by using around thirty kilograms of curd.
Steps unique to the Bilona method-
After the A2 milk is obtained from the Gir Cow and is set overnight to curdle, here are the remaining steps that are specifically followed for a fully traditional Bilona experience.
- The milk is churned in two motions — Clockwise and Anti-Clockwise. This is the correct way of churning and thus can be a lengthy process. The curd then gets separated into Butter and Butter Milk which is known as Loni / Makkhan.
Tip – Add chilled water while churning.
- Once the churning process is over, the resultant loni/makkhan is then used to make ghee. The leftover Buttermilk becomes a cool drink which can be consumed plain or by adding salt and cumin powder to the Buttermilk. Some places even concoct a masala of green chilies, ginger, coriander leaves, and cumin. A very popular Indian dish, Kadhi is also made using Buttermilk.
- The Makkhan/Loni is then put in a stainless steel pot and heated medium-high till such time the butter comes to a boil. It is then left to gently boil on a relatively lower flame. Now is when any remaining water gets evaporated away and the butter starts becoming clear with a visible layer of solids at the bottom of the pot the ghee. You will know that the process is complete once you get a peculiar and uniquely rich smell.
Finally, the Golden liquid ghee is drained through a strainer and stored in jars for later use. It is vital to store the Ghee in a dry and air-tight jar as water or humidity can spoil it. It is interesting to know that Ghee does not require any form of refrigeration and can be stored at room temperature.
As a specialty ghee
Desi Ghee (pure cow ghee), prepared by bilona churning method, is costlier than the ghee prepared using commercial method where ghee is made using machines. In the bilona method, we make ghee by hand churning a large amount of curd, which makes the price of Bilona Ghee slightly expensive compared to the other ghee variants available.
Since Bilona ghee is made entirely using traditional methods, it is given a higher status of authenticity. As how it goes with the concept of hand-crafted products, Bilona Ghee thus stands out and is seen as a specialty ghee variant which has the essence of the Ayurvedic age.