Fresh is Best
Fresh is always best with cheese, and brand names and varieties abound. Practice the following tips and heed the cheese facts to get the most out of every choice of cheese you make.
Cheese Food Facts
- Asiago is named for the northern Italian village in which it was created. Cheese makers in the United States began producing Asiago in the mid 1900s.
- To keep cheese moist, wrap it in a soft cloth wrung out of vinegar and keep it in an earthen jar with the cover slightly raised.
- When too much fat is removed from cheese, it may have a rubbery texture. The fat in cheese gives it the smooth texture we prefer. Cheeses that are the exceptions, like ricotta, camembert and brie have higher water content, and a low fat content.
- Most cheese substitutes are produced from soybean vegetable fat.
- The higher the water content of cheeses, such as cottage cheese, the faster they tend to go bad. Cottage cheese lasts for only three weeks after it is produced. Remember to store it upside down and mix the liquid (whey) back in.
- Cheddar cheese is so low in moisture that it can last for years. However, it will get a stronger taste as it ages. Low fat cheeses do not have a long shelf life due to their increased water content. You are just paying for more water.
- Cheddar cheese gets its name from the English village of Cheddar Gorge.
- Grate small bits of cheeses that are leftover to get variety. Makes a great topping for salads and casseroles.
- 100 grams of cheese equals 25 grams of protein.
- The average woman needs 46 grams of protein per day, the average man 56 grams.
- It takes eight pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese. One ounce (average slice) of cheese equals as much fat and protein as one cup of milk. Also, it is a concentrated source of cholesterol and saturated fat.
- The cheese industry has developed numerous methods of changing a good quality product into a chemical smorgasbord. While most cheeses are naturally white (not yellow), the industry has resorted to a variety of artificial chemicals to make cheeses more appealing to us visually.
- The following is just a partial list of these chemicals that are used to give cheese their sharp taste, to color them, to make them smell more appealing or to thicken them. They include: malic acid, tartaric acid, phosphoric acid, alginic acid, aluminum potassium phosphate, diacetyl, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose, benzyl peroxide and certain yellow dyes.
- These same chemicals that are used to alter cheeses are used for making cement, bleaching clothes, producing cosmetics and even rust-proofing metals.
- Cheese is an excellent food but you should be more aware of the kinds of cheeses to choose from. Try to purchase cheeses made from part skim milk, low fat milk, non fat milk and are labeled natural. Also, try to find one that says that it contains no preservatives or additives.
- An ounce of cream cheese may contain as much as 110 calories. True, it does have fewer calories than butter for a comparable weight, but we tend to use more.
- Try to choose from low sodium and reduced fat cheeses.
- A dental study showed that a number of cheeses will actually help to prevent cavities. These include: Romano, Muenster, Gouda, Swiss, Edam, Monterey Jack, Tilsit, Port du Salut, processed American cheese singles and aged Cheddar.
- Moldy cheese may contain a harmful toxin (alflatoxin), especially gorgonzola, blue cheese and Roquefort.
- If a cheese is natural, the name of the cheese will be preceded by the word natural, or will not have anything preceding the name of the cheese.
- One cup of grated cheese is made from one-quarter pound of cheese.
- The wax coating on cheeses will protect it. If there is an exposed edge, try covering it with butter to keep the cheese moist and fresh.
- Cottage cheese will remain fresher for a longer period of time if you store it upside down in the refrigerator. Many chefs keep a number of different products upside down if they will move in the container. This slows the effects of oxidation.
- To keep cheese longer without it forming mold, place a piece of paper towel that has been dampened with white vinegar in the bottom of a plastic container that has a good seal before adding the cheese.
- Another way to prevent mold from forming on cheese is to store the cheese in a sealed container with two lumps of sugar.
- Soft cheeses can be grated using a metal colander and a potato masher.
- Dishes with cheese should be cooked slower to avoid curdling and stringiness.
- A dull knife works better to cut cheese. Warm the knife and the cheese will cut like butter.
- Yellow cheese: 71 percent of the calories are fat, 39 of those saturated.
- Dried out cheese (without mold) should be saved and grated, then used for cooking.
- The U.S. is the leading producer of cheese in the world. Wisconsin is the leading state.
- There are approximately 800 varieties of cheese in the world. The U.S. produces 200 of them.
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