What would you do if you wanted to keep the ricotta cheese for a few days? Like other cheeses, you also keep them in your refrigerator. But some of you may have doubts about the freezing method of ricotta cheese.
Because some believe that freezing ricotta cheese may cause the texture and taste of the original cheese and others believe it is ok to freeze. What’s the correct answer? is it ok to freeze or not?
The answer is yes. You can freeze ricotta cheese and sometimes it won’t retain all the original aspects of the product once you freeze. If you freeze the ricotta cheese, the whey and curd in the cheese are divided by the ice and it changes the original texture. The studies show that normally the fresh ricotta can be frozen for at least 3 months.
Is Ricotta Cheese Healthy To Eat?
Ricotta cheese is a widely used cheese in a variety of dishes. As the name suggests, the name ‘Ricotta’ came from the Italian word and it originated in Italy. It is a fresh cheese but doesn’t last as long as other cheeses do.
Most ricotta cheese containers have a minimum expiry of three months. When you uncover a ricotta bottle, it should be used within one week. It is made from the milk of cows, sheep, buffalo, or goats.
Ricotta cheese is one of the most consuming cheeses and can buy every grocery store. It’s a milky flavor cheese with a fresh and soft texture. It is widely used and less expensive. So cheese is widely added to a variety of dishes. However, it is mainly added to desserts and other dishes like turkey ricotta meatballs, pork ricotta meatballs, lemon ricotta pasta, etc.
Different types of Ricotta
There are different types of ricotta are available in markets. It varies depending on the flavor and texture and the place where it is produced. Some Italian ricotta is soft and others are firm.
Mostly ricottas are sold in big sizes. But you can find small tubs of ricotta cheese in America. They are made for some recipes like lasagna. Let’s look at the various types of ricotta.
It is also known as ricotta affumicata. This type of ricotta has been cold-smoked. This type of ricotta cheese is made by artisanal cheesemakers. Just like other types, it has also a creamy texture.
This type of ricotta cheese is made from sheep’s milk curd. In Italy, it is known as Ricotta Salata. It is widely used the recipes like salad or pasta. It is sliceable in texture. You can use this type of ricotta for up to 3 months.
Just like other ricotta cheeses, basket ricotta is soft and made of pillowy curds.
Fresh Ricotta cheese vs Frozen Ricotta cheese
The guide to freezing cheese suggests that Ricotta cheese is the worst cheese to freeze. But what’s the difference between the original ricotta cheese and the frozen ricotta cheese is the slight variations in the texture.
Frozen ricotta cheese is suitable to include certain recipes. Normally ricotta cheese contains moisture content, once it froze, the liquid content in the cheese will become ice and changes the texture of the original cheese.
Normal ricotta cheese looks in a creamy texture. But the frozen ricotta will become drier and crumbled in appearance. Studies suggest that it’s better to add frozen ricotta to cooked dishes like spinach- Ricotta Quiche and baked Ziti with sausage. Otherwise, it may affect the taste of your dishes.
Flavor and textural changes
Does the frozen ricotta cheese influence the fresh texture and flavor of ricotta? It is a highly debated topic. Based on these factors, we have reached a conclusion that frozen ricotta cheese has a slight difference in its texture and density. Some of the cheese brands say that freezing ricotta doesn’t bring any change to the original cheese.
On the other hand, some brands like Sargento say that frozen ricotta cheese can’t retain the all features of the original cheese. If you freeze the ricotta cheese for up to two months, it didn’t change its flavor. But after that, it may change the taste. The first difference can be seen in the texture. Fresh ricotta cheese loses its smoothness, because of the separation of proteinaceous curds from the whey. When the frozen ricotta became thawed, it still appear as drier and does not confer the same moisture to recipes as the original.
How to freeze Ricotta cheese?
You might have thought about the freezing method of ricotta cheese. You may also come across different doubts such as how much time can we freeze the ricotta cheese? how can we freeze it if it is unopened? Here are the stages of freezing ricotta step-by-step:
- Before going to freeze the cheese, stir well and mix the cheese with a spoon. Because the stirring process makes the cheese get dry slowly.
- Remove the cheese into a layer of paper towels. paper towels help to drain the cheese.
- Wrap the ricotta cheese using a plastic cover. You can cover the whole portion or the individual portion that you need.
- You can transfer the cheese to an airtight container. Before doing that, make sure to press out the air inside the container.
- Before put into the freezer, mention the date in the container and you can use the cheese for up to two-three months.
Follow the aforementioned tips to preserve the ricotta cheese in your refrigerator. If you follow the proper way, the ricotta cheese will definitely last up to the mentioned expiry date. if it has been longer than the specified time, there may be impacted variations in the cheese.
The most important factor to keep in mind while storing ricotta cheese is that colder cheese in the freezer will increase its lifespan. Normally dairy products are expired within weeks or months. But the cooler it gets in the freezer can influence its expiry time. It is highly recommended to keep it in the bottom or very back of the freezer. So it can maintain the texture as it is to an extent.
How to Thaw Frozen Ricotta?
When you want to thaw your frozen ricotta, you have to place a bowl of cold water inside the refrigerator and wait for twenty-four hours to get your thawed frozen ricotta cheese. What’s the reason behind thawing your ricotta in this way? Because water contains higher heat transfer than air. Once you place the cheese inside the bowl of cold water, it will thaw the ricotta cheese more rapidly. Many people think the frozen ricotta by placing it outside the refrigerator. But it’s not a good method and it can’t be reused anymore.
Ricotta is a fresh milk product that contains numerous spoilage bacteria in it. When it is left at room temperature, the nutrient-dense components will quickly take over.
After defrosting the ricotta, remove the top portion of the whey that separates the solids and stir well the remaining curd. You can only use the thawed ricotta cheese for two days. Otherwise, it is harmful to your health and should not refreeze the thawed ricotta. If you use the refroze ricotta, it will become a problematic issue as far as health is concerned.
It’s better to add fresh ricotta recipes into your recipes. When it comes to ricotta cheese, you are aware of the expiry date of fresh ricotta cheese and frozen ricotta cheese. Refreezing thawed ricotta cheese cause different risk factors. Here are some of the ricotta alternatives which help to maintain the taste in your recipes.
Cottage cheese: cottage cheese is one of the best alternatives for ricotta cheese. Both of them maintain a close resemblance like creamy texture and high moisture content. It is even tangier than ricotta cheese. Cottage cheese is a good substitute for adding to baked pasta recipes.
Mascarpone: Mascarpone has same origin as ricotta cheese. It is an Italian dairy product. It has a similar taste and flavor to ricotta. The smooth texture and slightly sweet flavor give much attraction to Mascarpone.
Creme fraiche: Creme Fraiche is a thickened cheese made either by unpasteurized cream or pasteurized cream. It is similar to ricotta based on fat content and rich texture.
In addition, Fromage blanc and quark are used as alternatives for ricotta cheese. These fresh dairy products have a close resemblance to the texture and flavor of ricotta cheese.
Ricotta cheese is one of the most consumed dairy products in America and other countries. The doubts about freezing dairy products have been constantly discussed and still going on the topic. In particular, when it comes to dairy products, the expiry date of cheeses is a mandatory topic.
Cheese can reuse after freezing it. In the case of ricotta, it can freeze and use within a limited time. Thaw frozen ricotta should be taken within three days. If it is in the freezer more than that, it can not be added to any recipes that you made.