Coconut stuffs first > I just finished my first coconut oil. I very much liked it; but, I did NOT like guar gum listed in the ingredients. So, I hunted in my local co-op and other healthfood and health conscious stores. I found something that I thought would be comparable. I chose: Artisana Raw 100% Organic Coconut Butter (Whole Coconut Flesh, not just Oil) in a jar. Tell me more folks about the diferences in Coconut Oil and Coconut Butter (including - not limited to, though - it's uses and storage.) And please, if there is a suggestion for finding coconut oil withOUT that guar gum.
Ghee > I just opened my first jar of Ghee. For this, I chose: Ancient Organics GHEE (from 100% Organic Straus Family Creamery Butter) Does anyone have positive "plugs" or arguments or other comments regarding Ghee. And, how should it be stored? I'm assuming room temperature.
Bonus inquiry > Also, it seems to me that products in the can are less desirable than the same products in glass. Any comments on that? Is this a misconception of mine?
Coconut oil is pure oil pressed from the meat of a coconut. Coconut butter is kind of like other nut butters - it's finely ground coconut meat, including the oil.
When you referred to coconut oil and said it had guar gum in it, that makes me think you must have meant to say coconut milk. Coconut milk - like other nut milks - is essentially made from adding (varying amounts) of water to the coconut meat and straining out the fiber. Because the water tends to separate out, stabilizing additives like guar gum are often used.
It's really important to check labels when you buy coconut milk - pay attention to the calories and macronutrients. You want them to be high. Avoid additives, obvs. "Light" means you're buying a can of mostly water. The best brand I've had is Aroy-D - it's the only one I buy now. The worst is Thai Kitchen, its pasty with guar gum and it it tastes like bleach. Utterly inedible, imo.
Regarding coconut butter, you can't really cook with it. Its good on paleo pancakes or other sweet applications, or really just eating straight. Coconut oil is the straight fat, and its primarily used to cook with. I got the spectrum brand and I didn't notice guar gum in the ingredients. Also, they both should be fine stored on the counter. Coconut is pretty stable.
Ghee is great, but its cheaper to make your own and is really simple. You heat the butter, skim off the white stuff on top and let the milk solids brown on the bottom and they should separate out. I mainly just use butter though because its easier.
Cans have BPA and potentially other chemicals that aren't great. Glass doesn't seem to have anything that would cause adverse health effects. Its also easier to open and store.
I have never seen coconut oil with guar gum, weird. Sorry that was your first experience. I buy from a website called "Tropical Traditions". They have awesome coconut oil, their website will give you TONS of information about the product as well as how to use the product (recipes adn such)...I use coconut oil for cooking, skin care, makeup removal, hair conditioner...it's amazing stuff! http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/ I honestly have never used ghee before but I know it's easy enough to make from your own butter (plenty of direction on internet). I just use the whole butter shebang. I try to stay away from cans, preferring glass..I don't think you're off base with that.
I use Nutiva coconut oil and butter (manna). No guar gum in either. I have used Artisana oil, but I prefer Nutiva over all the various ones I've tried. When the oil is a little more solid, I often scoop out a spoonful to eat ... it's that good.
I also use the oil as a moisturizer and my skin looks and feels amazing.
I use coconut oil for cooking and as a moisturizer. Coconut butter is great on top of banana, or just straight off the spoon! I store them both in the cabinet.
You can make your own coconut butter: http://heathereatsalmondbutter.com/recipes/coconut-butter/ It's a lot cheaper than buying it.
I buy products in glass whenever possible.
Once I started making ghee, I began to use it for everything. You just heat a package of butter on low heat for about twenty minutes, then filter (through a coffee filter or tee shirt) into a glass or ceramic jar for storage. It is fine at room temperature, but I tend to store it in the fridge since I mainly use it for cooking, not finishing. I have had ghee keep for up to three weeks in a covered jar in a cupboard, but it was in the winter, so it was not liquid.
The advantage that ghee has over butter (since yes, it is easier to simply use butter) is that it has a much higher smoke point since the milk solids and water have been removed. Ghee is the best thing to make (paleo) pancakes with because of the higher smoke point as well as the great taste. Once you start using it you will notice that the taste of ghee over regular butter is unquestionable. Also, please do not base your decision about ghee on how the jarred ghee tastes. I bought Purity Farms organic ghee in a jar once, and will never do it again. It does not taste anywhere near as good as homemade ghee, is very expensive, and also does not smell as good.
Two more bonuses about making your own ghee are that you can up the heat just a little bit, to medium, and keep a close eye on it. The bottom of the butter will start to brown as you are clarifying it, and it gives the ghee a caramel flavor which is delicious, too. The other thing is that you can make a small amount at a time, if you are unsure how often you will use it. Four sticks of butter make about a cup and a half of ghee for me, and that keeps our family of four going well for at least a week, often two. You could start with one stick of butter, which will give you a couple meals of trying it out to compare. Good luck!