When it comes to cottage cheese, it is always easy to forget how much you’ve put in the fridge. There are always those extra cartons left at the back of the fridge, taking up precious shelf space, on the cusp of turning sour.
Cottage cheese is the perfect accompaniment for sourdough toast, rye bread or to give your salad that lovely bitter edge. You can serve it at parties or just as a one-off treat to yourself on a Saturday morning. It is rich in B vitamins, protein and bone-building minerals such as calcium.
However, like most other cheeses, cottage cheese has only about a week of shelf life in the fridge. However, there is a way of keeping your excess cottage cheese for longer than a week - and that’s by freezing it.
That’s right, you can freeze cottage cheese. However, like most dairy products, the longer you freeze it or cycle it in a freeze and defrost pattern, then the more detrimental it will be to the final taste and texture of it.
So what is the best way to prepare your cottage cheese before freezing it? How long can you keep your cottage cheese in the fridge before it starts to lose its unique flavor? What are the best foods to serve with cottage cheese once it’s been defrosted?
Well, cottage cheese enthusiasts, we’ve got some answers to those nagging cheese preservations questions. We’ve compiled a pretty in-depth list of the best ways to freeze cottage cheese as well as some tasty recipes for when you finally take your cheese out of the freezer.
Can You Freeze Cottage Cheese?
If you don’t want to waste the city of cottage cheese slowly building up in your refrigerator, you can indeed freeze them. However, it’s not as easy as scooping out the contents of each of your containers and putting them straight in the icebox.
Regular cheddar or processed cheese can freeze pretty easily, but cottage cheese is slightly trickier at lower temperatures.
When you store cottage cheese in the freezer, it will last anything from 4 to 6 months, although you can expect some diminishing in quality from repeated freezing and defrosting. We recommend that you still try and consume your cottage cheese within a few weeks of freezing.
However, freezing cottage cheese is a good way to elongate its life span, as it tastes excellent with a few select dishes. If you stockpile your supply, the chances are that you can use it when the right meal comes along.
You won’t need many items to freeze your cottage cheese. Here are a select few:
Freezer bags - you can transfer your cottage cheese from their original containers into these specially adapted, sealable freezer bags. It will preserve your cottage cheese for longer and prevent freezer burn.
Glass containers - glass containers are a great way to store frozen food, especially if they come with a snap-locking system, which will keep the food inside airtight and bacteria-free.
Don’t forget to label your cottage cheese before putting it in the freezer, so you can make sure it doesn’t go way beyond its use-by date.
We recommend that you portion your cottage cheese into smaller containers rather than larger ones, as it will take longer for bigger portions of cheese to defrost.
If you are thinking of adding your portion of frozen cottage cheese to an existing recipe, then more than likely it will ask you for one cup instead of two, so use these sparingly.
What Kind Of Cottage Cheese Freezes Best?
The higher the fat content of cottage cheese, the better it will freeze. With less liquid involved, you will be less likely to experience freezing phenomena such as freeze burn and cracking.
Cottage cheeses made from whole fat and curd will be much better to freeze than the low-fat variety, so if you are on a diet and prefer low-calorie brands of cottage cheese, bear in mind this simple motto: low-fat cheese will not freeze!
Make sure you give your cottage cheese a sniff before you put it in the freezer. If it has a moldy and sour smell, the chances are that it has gone bad.
You can also tell if your cottage cheese is past its due date by looking at the color. If it has started to turn a shade of yellow, chances are that it has gone bad.
How To Defrost Cottage Cheese
There are a couple of ways you can thaw out your cottage cheese after you have taken it out of the freezer.
The first method is slightly longer, although it is the best way to reduce the risk of contamination. Simply transfer your container from the freezer to the fridge and let the contents defrost overnight.
The only downside of this is that it is not ideal if you haven’t planned ahead and want it ready in time for your dinner party in a few hours.
You can thaw it out much quicker by soaking the cheese in a bag in some cold or lukewarm water. This should defrost within a few hours, depending on the amount you want to defrost and the size and style of packaging.
If you are thinking of adding your cottage cheese to a stew, you can simply add it to the broth while it’s still frozen. Once in the pot, the boiling heat should kill off any germs that might have accumulated.
What Foods Go Best With Defrosted Cottage Cheese?
When storing your cottage cheese in the freezer, you should be aware of the fact that the taste, size and consistency of your cottage cheese will alter dramatically.
So it will be handy for you to know what foods go best with defrosted cottage cheese.
- Cheesecakes - you might want to add the thawed cottage cheese to your cheesecake.
- Soup - cottage cheese can be added to most soups, the sour taste and cool texture will lower the boiling temperature of your soup and offset the flavor nicely.
- Casseroles - must like the soup, add this one to a piping hot casserole to alter the flavor and temperature.