Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese – How To Keep Cheese Fresh
How can you keep ricotta cheese fresh? Can you freeze ricotta cheese so that this expensive food won't go to waste?
Since lasagna is one of my family's favorite meals, I usually purchase a large quantity of ricotta cheese. However, I always have about 2 cups left over, which can go bad if refrigerated for more than two weeks.
And the answer is "Yes, you can keep your ricotta cheese fresh if you freeze it correctly!" First, let me tell you a bit about this versatile cheese, and then I'll show you how you can successfully freeze it.
Introduction To Ricotta Cheese
Commonly believed to have its origins in Sicily during the early part of the 13th century, ricotta, which means "cooked once again," is literally just that.
Ricotta cheese is actually a cheese by-product that first appears in the form of whey, a foamy, watery substance that appears while mozzarella and provolone cheese are being made. The whey is then gathered, re-cooked and drained until it turns into a creamy curd known as ricotta cheese.
While ricotta cheese resembles cottage cheese, it is more delicate in consistency and contains five times more calcium. Because it melts well, it can be used in many Italian pasta with meatballs or other recipes such as ravioli, tortellini, manicotti and cannelloni as well as in many desserts like cheesecakes, cookies, muffins, tarts and pies.
Ricotta cheese is also an excellent accompaniment to a variety of fruit, and it makes a tasty topping on bagels, Italian bread and sweet rolls. You can use it in hot and cold salads and as a dip.
It tastes good and is also good for your health. However, if your kitchen lacks of Ricotta cheese, you can pick one from best cheese slicer.
The Origin Of Ricotta Cheese
The ricotta cheese that is readily available in most American grocery stores was developed in the early 19th century from cow's milk and resembles cottage cheese. It has a mild and slightly sweet taste. Moreover, because it is made with stabilizers, it has a moist, firm texture with delicate granules.
Ricotta cheese is easy to make. Lemon juice, milk and about half hour of your time is all you need to make a batch of fresh, creamy homemade ricotta.
How To Freeze Ricotta Cheese
Freezing Ricotta Cheese Alone
While ricotta cheese can last for three months in the freezer, it can go for longer than that if you follow a few simple steps.
- Make sure the ricotta cheese is fresh. If it is near or past the date, it may not last as long as it could.
- If you did not open the package, simply put it in the freezer as it is.
- If you want to freeze it for more than a month, tightly seal the whole package inside a freezer bag.
- If you have some ricotta left in the container, take it out and place it in one or several freezer bags. Make sure you get all the air out before you seal them.
- If you want to keep it in containers, place the containers in heavy-duty freezer bags to prevent freezer burn.
- If you see any whey in your container, drain it off before freezing it because it can sour the cheese.
- Ensure that your freezer stays at zero degrees Fahrenheit or below.
Keep in mind that the temperature is really important. I keep a freezer thermometer in my freezer at all times so that I can keep a sharp eye on the temperature.
Although your ricotta cheese will keep in your freezer, please be aware that freezing it will somewhat change its texture and taste. However, it will still work well in dishes such as lasagna, soups, sauces and other recipes that require cooking.
When you take it out and it begins to thaw, which takes about a day or so, you may notice some liquid on the top.
- Stir the liquid back into the cheese with an electric mixer or large spoon.
- If it is still too soupy, you can get rid of some of the excess liquid.
If you notice your ricotta cheese has turned yellow and has a not-so-nice odor or flavor, it may have gone bad and should be discarded.
Freezing Dishes Having Ricotta Cheese
Another way to freeze your ricotta cheese is to cook your dish containing the cheese and then freeze it. Freezing ricotta cheese this way will give you better results as opposed to freezing the cheese by itself.
For example, if you don't want your delicious lasagna to go bad, just simply follow these following instructions.
- Cut it into sections as large as you wish.
- Wrap each section individually with plastic wrap or wax paper.
- Place each section into individual gallon or quart-size freezer bags.
This method makes your frozen food readily available whenever you need a quick meal, big or small, that will easily thaw out.
Some of the dishes containing ricotta cheese that do well when frozen include:
- Ricotta pie
- Ricotta calzones
- Other ricotta-stuffed pasta
For best results, these foods should be thawed in your refrigerator. Then, prior to reheating, add a small amount of water if you notice that the sauce has absorbed into the pasta. When using the microwave, cover with plastic wrap or wax paper, or use aluminum foil if you prefer to cook your food in the oven.
Some desserts containing ricotta cheese, such as cheesecakes, can be safely frozen as well. However, it's best not to freeze them beyond a month.
Keep Your Ricotta Cheese Fresh!
Steps for successfully freezing ricotta cheese:
- Store it alone or in cooked dishes inside freezer bags or containers.
- Ensure your freezer is at or below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
- Ricotta cheese can last up to six months in the freezer if done correctly.
If you have any questions about freezing ricotta cheese or you would like to share your cooking experiences or recipes that include ricotta cheese, leave a comment below! And if you want to make Broccoli Cheese Bake, please read my friend's recipes in here