Cheese from Farm to Table
Whether you’re looking for a convenient snack or a recipe ingredient that will steal the show, look no further. Cheese not only tastes good, it is made of simple ingredients and packed with nutrients like protein and calcium.
It Starts with Milk
It usually takes less than 48 hours for milk to get from a local dairy farm to the store – talk about fresh! Farmers milk their cows 2-3 times each day and collect the milk in a refrigerated tank on the farm. Each tank is tested for antibiotic residue before being loaded into a milk truck and hauled to a bottling plant, or in this case a processing plant, to be made into cheese!
How Cheese is Made
Cheese undergoes simple processing before finding its way to supermarket shelves, and quality milk is the starting point. To make cheese, a “starter culture” (also known as “good bacteria”) and an enzyme are added to milk. These two ingredients help the milk form a more solid mass.
Remember Little Miss Muffet’s “curds and whey” from the popular nursery rhyme? The liquid (whey protein) is separated from the solids (curd) when a desired consistency is reached. The cheese is then cut, stirred and molded. The final step is adding salt, which helps enhance flavor and helps preserve the cheese. Like wine, cheese also can be aged so flavors can develop more fully.
When paired with fruits, vegetables and whole grains, cheese may help people eat more of these recommended food groups, as well as dairy. And because cheese is a complete source of natural, high-quality protein, it can help curb your hunger. What’s more, cheese is perfect for transforming leftover ingredients into a creative new meal idea, which can help reduce food waste.
Whether you’re sprinkling cheese on top of your favorite dish, melting it into a sauce, pairing it with fruit or enjoying it alone, you can feel good about saying “Yes, please!” to cheese!
Learn more from Midwest Dairy.