Sunday, March 25, 2012

How Many States Produce Cheese in the United States?

Cheese is a favorite delicacy for many people in the United States, and even elsewhere in the world. The manufacturing of cheese is something that dates back to early days of the Medieval Empire. In the late medieval times, the art of making cheese had become so common that many people were enjoying the practice even more than the idea of eating. People would produce more cheese like a normal art almost for leisure. It can be said that it was nice for them to make cheese and visualize the result as it is, apart from just the fact that cheese itself was a delicacy. Afterwards cheese just becomes very common with many countries being recorded historically to have been specializing in the art.

For instance, places like Parma which is near Italy, Appenzell in Switzerland which has been recommended throughout Europe as a major producer of cheese in that region even to date, Cheshire was also a major place where cheese was being produced in larger scale during the time of Elizabethan, Cheddar among other places.

Even with that record of major and historical production, it seems that none of the past countries had managed to grow in their production of cheese as the United States which happens to be taking a leading role till to date. United States is actually the world's leading producer of cheese as recorded by world statistics. Their specialization on cheese industry is something that has made a landmark gain to the economy of United States as a whole. Many Americans enjoy their cheese as part of their daily meal and accompaniment. Apart from the fact that cheese is fetching a lot of revenue for United States government from the local natives, it is also true that the country gets more foreign income from production of cheese alone as compared to other things. Most countries import cheese from the United States which is a plus for the US revenue collection.

There are so many companies in America whose specialty in the production of cheese has placed them in the first ranks in the world market for producing remarkable amount of cheese. Most of these companies are situated in the State of Wisconsin. Others are found in California as well as other States that major in dairy farming. However, among all the states that produce cheese in the United States, California and Wisconsin are the most popularly known States that are competing in this field.

In fact, it is said that if the State of Wisconsin would not consider improving their quantity of production, California which comes second to it will overtake it very soon. It is like these two States compete in this game. Other states are yet to match the game. Wisconsin has had a lasting history with a good name on the production of cheese as it continues to soar in leading other States making America's bid to remain top in cheese production recognized even more. In fact, this State of Wisconsin has been producing cheese for over a century. Over all that time, it has never dwindled in its cheese market since it produces quality and delicious cheese.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

What does it mean if Cheddar is Sharp?

Cheddar is an orange-red or hard pale yellow cheese that usually has a flavor. The flavor can be mild or sharp depending on its maturity. Cheddar can be sharp-tasting as well. It’s usually produced in various countries of the world but it actually originated from an English village in Somerset known as Cheddar from where its name was coined.
In the UK, Cheddar is seen as a popular cheese. It accounts for billions of annual cheese sold in the UK market. In the US also, Cheddar is seen as the second most popular cheese sold. The consumption is highly rated in various states in American. The production is also on the increase.

Oftentimes, Cheddar is said to be “sharp”. You may be wondering the meaning of this! Well, the sharpness of Cheddar is hinged on the way it’s manufactured in several places. Basically, Cheddar undergoes some processes. When the curd is mixed with salt, it’s cut into smaller cubes. This drains the whey. It will then be pressed into a cheddar block. To make the Cheddar stronger or harder, it has to be left to mature for about 15 months. It’s kept under a steady temperature with lots of special facilities. The longer the cheese ages, the stronger and sharper the flavor is. The texture of the Cheddar is also firm. When it comes to texture, Cheddar is never soapy. It’s rather more brittle than many other cheese types.

Thus the sharpness of Cheddar refers to the kind of flavor it has. Basically, Cheddar can be mild or sharp. When it’s sharper, its taste tends to be more complex and tangy.

Again, Cheddar is said to be sharp when it has stayed for up to 9 months. It can as well be extra-sharp if it stays up to 2 years. Hence, the older the Cheddar gets, the sharper it tends to become. In most cases, when Cheddar gets older, the bacteria inside it will begin to product more enzymes. This will further break down its proteins and fats. This process will then produce several compounds that give the cheddar its distinctive sharp flavor.

Moreover, when Cheddar cheese is made, it may be allowed to sit and mold for a long time. It will then form what is known as brine which is acidic in nature. This makes the Cheddar to be sharper. Thus, the longer the Cheddar stays the more sharper it becomes.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How Long Does Cheese Keep in the Refrigerator?

Proper storage is one of the most important aspects of food preservation. You will realize that most food that spoils do so as a result of poor storage. For example, there are some foods that you cannot refrigerate for longer period of time. If you insist on doing so, you will waste it after a while. On the other hand, some foods will need the refrigerator to remain fresh for long. Most animal products can be stored in the fridge for longer time without getting spoiled.

For instance, refrigeration of cheese will make it remain preserved for an amazing period of time. Depending on the quality of cheese that you want to refrigerate, it is possible to even keep it refrigerated for even months. Cheese can stay pure for so long when in the fridge. In most cases, the best storage temperatures should be 35 to 40 oF. This is possible only when the original wrapping is maintained. Immediately the original wrapping is tampered with, it is possible to find that your cheese would get spoiled after a few days. If you want it to remain good for long after you have opened the package, it may mean that you have to rewrap it very well.
There are important factors that you will have to regard when you want your cheese to preserve for long periods of time. The most important is the type of cheese. Here, we can talk about soft cheese and hard cheese. Soft cheese would generally demand that they are eaten shortly after purchase and opening so that they never get bad. They may stay for hardly three months which means that you must not spend too much time with it after you break the seal to ensure that they don't waste your money. In other words, soft cheese doesn’t have better longevity when refrigerated. On the other hand, hard cheese should spend a lot of time in the refrigerator without going bad. It is the type of cheese that we would advice can spend even six to eight months as long as all the conditions for preservation are obeyed.
If you are thinking about natural cheese, be sure that it will not stay long even if you have stored it very nicely. If you have differentiated the types of cheeses that you would want to buy, you will definitely need to obey proper storage. Processed cheeses which are sliced can be used within six months. It will not be nice to have them beyond that duration. For all consumers of cheese, it is important that you get the meaning of “best if used by” which is usually printed or tagged on the cheese package. It is usually meant to tell you during which time you can have your cheese without losing its original flavor. Let this not be confused with how long it can be stored. Once you have cracked open the package, you will need to tightly seal it again so that it can maintain the flavor or else, you will lose it very fast. Refrigeration will help you, but it will not be ultimate even for open cheese. If the cheese has a “packaged on” date, it is usually good at least 5 days (for fresh cheeses).

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What Kind of Cheese is a Cheese curd?

A Cheese Curd refers to the solid part of soured milk usually eaten alone especially in the area of cooking or cuisine. Basically, Cheese curds are used in several kinds of regional dishes especially in the US and Canada. Oftentimes, they are also called Squeaky Cheeses.

In most cases, Cheese Curds are produced in Cheese factories. When making cheddar cheese, the milk is formed into curds and whey using cultures. Cheese curds are the curds that form in the vats during this process. After the whey is drained off, the cheese curds are removed from the vat and cooled. These curds can be put into cheddar presses if making cheddar and set aside for aging, but can also be eaten at this stage in production. They are normally eaten few hours after they are produced. They do have mild flavor. The only difference is that they do have springy texture.

When eaten or bitten, most fresh curds do squeak against the teeth. Oftentimes, the squeak sounds like a balloon that is trying to neck. In most cases, Cheese curds do lose their freshness after 12 hours of being refrigerated. Hence, they are mainly eaten when they are still very fresh from production. However, their squeakiness can be preserved when they are kept at room temperature.

Again, Cheese curds can be salty while maintaining their mild flavor. In the US, the varieties of Cheese curds normally eaten usually have orange or yellow color. This is usually the case with many of the American Cheddar Cheese. They don’t normally require artificial coloring. Some other kinds of Cheese Curds used in Canada or some parts of New York City also have natural colors.

How Cheese Curds are used
Cheese curds can be used in their fresh state. They are usually eaten as snacks. Many people also use them as appetizers. You can serve them alone by dressing them with additional flavor. You can equally serve them with other kinds of foods like cured pork or smoked sausage. Among the flavorings you can add to fresh Cheese Curd include garlic, Chili Peppers, herbs and so on. They normally taste great when served with such flavors.

Again, Cheese Curds can be in a fried form. Fried Cheese curds are usually served at various community festivals in some parts of the US. For instance, they are served in Minnesota in a deep-fried form. They are usually served at fun fairs and Carnival events in some parts of the US. They are also served at bars and restaurants. Fried Cheese curds can be served with a batter. They can also be breaded as well. Such fried Cheese curds are known as Cheeseballs in some locations. They are always known to be very tasty when fried.

Cheese Curds are also served as Poutine in Montreal. Poutine refers to a nice dish that is made up of French fries mixed with French Cheese Curds. It’s usually garnished with brown gravy and other ingredients. Poutine has its origin in rural areas of Quebec way back to 1950. It used to be a kind of sauce enjoyed by many people as at then. Today, Cheese curds are usually served as Poutine in various parts of Montreal, Quebec and other cities in Canada.

From the above, it’s very clear that Cheese curd has come a long way. It’s indeed a quality meal you can always enjoy in its fresh or fried state.

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