Be it cooking or its use in Ayurvedic medicine, desi ghee has been used in India for centuries. It not only adds to the taste but is used as a cure for numerous ailments in India.
Almost everyone uses ghee. However, there are very few people who are aware of its purity. That is when ghee testing comes in handy to make people aware of the potential benefits.
Before we dive into the testing & analysis of ghee, let’s revolve a tad around the process of making it.
The Process of Making Desi Ghee
Whether you are making ghee at home, or it’s being manufactured in the industry, the fundamental process is quite similar. It is typically prepared by simmering butter, which is churned from milk cream. The impurities are then skimmed from the surface and then the clear, liquid fat is poured and retained.
The solid residue that has settled to the bottom is discarded. The color, texture, and taste of desi ghee solely depend on the quality of the butter, the duration of time spent in boiling it, and the milk source used in the process.
The basic components of desi ghee are lactones, alcohol, and carbonyls. Apart from the flavor of milk fat, the temperature also affects the flavor of desi ghee.
Simple Testing Methods to Check the Purity of Ghee at Home
There are numerous manufacturing companies that are marketing pure desi cow ghee, claiming that it is unadulterated. However, desi ghee adulterated with vegetable oils and fats are quite prevalent in the market.
Here are a few simple tests that you can easily perform at home to analyze the purity of desi ghee.
This test is the simplest of all. All you got to do is put a spoonful of desi ghee in your palm and wait for a few seconds. If it begins to melt on its own, you can rest assured that it is pure. If not, it is certainly adulterated with oils and fats. Desi ghee normally melts on body temperature.
This analysis requires you to put a small quantity of melted desi ghee in a vessel and add two drops of iodine solution to it. If the iodine turns purple, you just know that desi ghee is mixed with starch. It is certainly not fit for consumption.
This is undeniably the simplest method to test the purity of desi ghee at home. All you must do is put a teaspoon full of ghee in a vessel and heat it. If the ghee melts quickly and turns brownish in color, it is certainly pure.
If it takes a tad longer to melt and turns pale yellow, it is impure and must not be consumed at any cost.
Double-Boiler Method Check
If you want to check whether the ghee contains traces of coconut oil, all you need to do is melt the ghee in a glass jar using the double-boiler method. For this method, you must use a flat bottom insert those fits over a pan of simmering water. Then, you need to put this jar in the fridge for some time. If you see the ghee and coconut oil solidifying in separate layers, you must know that the ghee is adulterated, and you must not consume it.
Take a transparent bottle and add a teaspoon of melted ghee with a pinch of sugar in it. Close the container and give it a vigorous shake. Check after 5 minutes. If red color appears at the bottom of the bottle, it is a clear indication of the presence of vegetable oil.
Even though this test is not feasible as it requires hydrochloric acid, which is rarely available in any household, it is a very distinctive test. If you manage to get hold of some of it, take some ghee in a container and add an equal amount of HCL to it. Add a pinch of sugar. Mix the solution well and wait.
There is a certainty that your ghee is adulterated with hydrogenated oils like vanaspati ghee if you see the appearance of red or pink color in the bottom layers.
Laboratory Analysis of Desi Ghee
When the home techniques fail, Cultivator Phyto Lab is at your rescue. Here are a few common tests that we conduct to help you analyze the quality of desi ghee. Count on us to analyze your samples for a several factors and attributes.
We understand that food items must be able to maintain integrity to meet customer expectations for safety. When desi ghee becomes rancid, it results in an undesirable taste and odor which negatively impacts the customer experience.
We typically perform rancidity tests and physical tests in our lab to ensure the quality of the tests: Here are a few rancidity tests typically used for oils and fats.
The components in oils and fats that alkali hydroxides cannot saponify make up the unsaponifiable stuff. Adulteration of ghee with several levels of butter, oil, or margarine triggered substantial changes in the unsaponifiable compounds. Therefore, a quick examination of unsaponifiable matter offers a rapid and simple laboratory method for uncovering the ghee adulteration.
Total Fatty Acids
Oil will deteriorate when it is used to deep fry food because it is exposed to high temperatures, oxygen, and moisture produced during cooking. Chemical alterations result from this combination, including the production of hydrolysis products like free fatty acids. Free fatty acids frequently cause the oil to have unfavorable consequences, such as a decreased smoke point and undesired coloring.
This is the most commonly used & viable option for measuring the state of oxidation in fats and oils. It is used to measure how much an oil sample has undergone primary oxidation. If you detect any presence of peroxide, the sample is most likely to be rancid.
RM Value is known as Reichert-Meissl value. The Reichert value is an indicator of how much volatile fatty acid can be extracted from fat through saponification. This number is a useful indicator of non-fat compounds in edible fats and is especially high in butter.
- R Value
Butyro Refractometer (BR) Reading is the index of the purity of ghee, fats, and oils. BR reading can determine if the ghee has been adulterated with cheaper oils and fats like vegetable oils, animal body fats, hydrogenated fats.
Baudouin test is applied to distinguish between desi ghee and vanaspati ghee. Vanaspati ghee contains 5% sesame oil. Pure ghee does not contain sesame oil. The adulteration of ghee with sesame oil is detected by the Furfural test, whereas the Baudouin test detects presence of vanaspati hydrogenated fat, refined vegetable oil, and animal fats in ghee. The presence of Beta – Sitosterol denotes adulteration with vanaspati ghee.
Neutral Oil Loss
The small undesirable components that make crude oils unpalatable to customers are removed during refinement. The objective of refining is to avoid damaging neutral oil and losing useful minor ingredients.
The chemicals that must be eliminated are all ones that compromise the refined oil’s flavor, color, stability, and nutritional safety. Phospholipids, free fatty acids, pigments, volatiles, and pollutants make up most of these substances. Testing in this area quantifies the amount of more valuable neutral oil that is lost during refining.
All the pure ghee tests at Cultivator PhytoLab ensure the optimal quality before it reaches the consumers. We are committed to helping you identify any unwanted or underperforming elements. Not only that, but we will also give you our insights into the positive aspects of your samples.
We offer a comprehensive suite of testing for both lipid characteristics and quality. You can always get in touch with us if you want your samples tested or have any further queries.