Can You Freeze Cottage Cheese?
Have you ever wanted to buy cottage cheese in bulk but decided otherwise because you are not sure how to store it? Have you ever wondered if you can freeze cottage cheese to extend its life? Well, you are not alone when it comes to this enigma. I, for one, had encountered this problem in the early years of my cheese consumption life.
The safest answer to this question is both a yes and a no. In this article, you will know why the answer can be both, and I will teach you some of the ways that you can effectively store and prolong the life of a cottage cheese using the freezer.
A Brief Introduction About Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is one of the well-loved cheeses in the US and the world. Its incomparable rich taste and moist texture have allured most of the cheese lovers out there. And you will certainly find its mild flavor a great addition to your recipes and salads. Though it’s a great compliment to fruits, toasts, salads, and others recipes, you can eat it by itself as well. If you haven’t tried it yet, I recommend that you do so because it is tasty and at the same time nutritious.
The name cottage cheese is quite debatable. Some people say that it originated from the small houses where the first American settlers used to live. Other people say that the name was derived from its production process. Cottage cheese is made from the cottages of milk leftovers after making butter.
Cottage cheese is made from different types of cow’s milk. Whether it’s fresh, concentrated, or raw, you can make a cottage cheese out of it. It is often white in color, but it’s not uncommon to see yellow-colored cottage cheese. The tint of yellow indicates the fat level of the milk used to make the cheese. This cheese has a creamy and crumbly texture. Unlike most cheeses that have a hint of sour taste, cottage cheese has a sweet flavor that it perfect to be consumed on its own or added to other dishes. From pizzas, tarts, muffins, or crackers, a spread of cottage cheese will certainly do wonders.
Aside from its being an amazing treat, it is also packed with nutrients. It is a good source of protein and vitamin A. It is also rich in calcium.
Can You Freeze Cottage Cheese?
As I mentioned earlier, the safest answer is both a yes and a no. There is no doubt that you can freeze a cottage cheese but no, you shouldn’t be freezing it all the time as you will affect its texture and flavor by doing so. If you want to freeze cottage cheese, then you will need to consider how you want to use it in the future.
How Freezing Affect Cottage Cheese
Hard cheese is often the best candidate for freezing, but soft cheeses like a cottage cheese is a different story. Freezing affects cottage cheese’s texture and taste which makes it unsavory. To understand fully why this happens, I made some research on the effects of freezing to this type of cheese.Soft cheese like cottage cheese is made up of 80% liquid part. When cottage cheese is placed in the freezer, the liquid part becomes ice over time. This ice will tear through the molecular content of the cottage cheese which causes the change in texture and the taste in some extent. This phenomenon is called as freezer burn.
Freezer burn does not only affect soft cheeses but other foods as well. It is important that you think thoroughly how you should use cottage cheese before deciding on freezing it.
When and How to Freeze Cottage Cheese
The best time to buy and stock up your freezer with cottage cheese is when you decide to cook some dishes that will need some cottage cheese as an ingredient. There is a wide variety of dishes that needs cottage cheese.
Below are some of the foods where you can try it out.
- Cheesecakes, muffins, cheese bars, and cupcakes
- Pasta, lasagna, and macaroni
- Breakfast food such as an egg omelet or a cornbread
In freezing cottage cheese, another thing to consider is the fat level.
I have found out that cottage cheese with higher fat content seems to have better texture and flavor than the low-fat version. It’s not the same as the fresh one though but certainly a notch better.
Here are some quick steps on how you should effectively store a cottage cheese in a freezer.
- 1. The first step before storing cottage cheese is to remove as much air as possible out of the container. Air allows the growth of microorganisms responsible for spoilage. If you have a half-filled container, it is best to transfer the cheese to another airtight container. You can also use airtight bags like Ziploc.
- 2. Put a date in your container to help you track how long has it been tracked inside the freezer. Most of the time, frozen cheese last only 4 to 6 months. For cottage cheese, though, 2-3 months will be the accepted life span. Writing a date will help remind you when it is still safe to use and prevent you from getting surprised with a spoiled cottage cheese.
- 3. When you have decided to use the cheese, make sure to thaw it properly. I find the thawing part as the most painful process. The best thing you should do when you already have an idea when to use it is to transfer it inside the refrigerator the day before you use it. Allow it to thaw in a cold environment. It is prone to bacterial growth if you leave it to thaw outside due to the inconsistent temperature.
- 4. Once it is thawed, drain the excess water that has accumulated. Stir the cheese so that you can restore it to a texture that looks like a normal cottage cheese. If you find it more like of a liquid than cheese, try adding a bit of cornstarch to thicken it. A teaspoon of cornstarch will miraculously transform it to something cheese-like structure.
- 5. Never refreeze a thawed cottage cheese. Before you store it, consider partitioning it into portions so that you will only thaw the amount that you need. Freezing in itself is already a bad idea, so re-freezing is a big no.If you want to eat cottage cheese fresh or use it as a dip, I advise not to put it in a freezer. You can store it in the refrigerator for two to three days and it still good for consumption.
How Do You Know Cottage Cheese is no Longer Good to Use
If you do not use your cottage cheese, it will eventually become unsafe to eat. The tinge of yellow determines the fat content, but when it starts to have a full yellow color, then that means it is no longer safe to eat. Also, its smell will change drastically. It will have a sourer smell and taste. When these things occur, it is best to discard your cheese.
Cottage cheese can indeed be frozen and be consumed. But you must be prepared to face the change in its consistency and taste. The next time you want to buy that cottage cheese on sale, try to buy some airtight containers or Ziplocs. They can come in handy when if you want to freeze your cheese.