African Journal of
Food Science

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Food Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0794
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJFS
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 857

Full Length Research Paper

Traditional butter and ghee production, processing and handling in Ethiopia: A review

Alganesh Tola Gemechu
  • Alganesh Tola Gemechu
  • Agriculture and Nutrition Research Laboratories, Holeta Agricultural Research Center, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, P. O. Box 036, Ethiopia.
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Yetenayet Bekele Tola
  • Yetenayet Bekele Tola
  • Department of Post Harvest Management, Jimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, Jimma University, P. O. Box 307, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 26 November 2016
  •  Accepted: 16 February 2017
  •  Published: 30 April 2017


In this review, traditional methods of processing, handling and indigenous preservation techniques of butter and ghee were assessed. In Ethiopia, butter and ghee processing are the responsibility of women. Traditional butter and ghee making in Ethiopia are based on indigenous knowledge using local materials and methods. Butter is made by churning naturally fermented milk. Butter is a raw material for ghee making. Salting, spicing, nigur kibe and traditional ghee making are major methods of butter preservation. Traditional ghee can be made from untreated butter, spiced butter, salted butter and nigur kibe. Butter and ghee are important components of Ethiopian traditional diets. Furthermore, butter is used for hair dressing and wound treatment. Ghee is commonly used for culinary, social functions and therapeutic purposes. There is scanty information on chemical and microbial quality of butter.  Both butter and ghee are shelf stable dairy products but ghee is more shelf stable than butter. The chemical composition and microbial quality of butter is substandard. However, so far there is no such information on ghee quality. Hence, the quality and safety of traditional butter and ghee are subjects of further investigation.


Key words: Traditional, butter, ghee, production, processing, handling, preservation.