So you have just used your ricotta cheese tub to garnish your best friend’s orzo sausage and chicken, but you feel too much is remaining. Should you throw it away? But ooh, that is not a good idea.
How can you preserve it and use it in your next meal to make your good friend or yourself happy again? Freezing is the best option, but can you freeze ricotta cheese? Let us get some ideas below.
What’s ricotta cheese?
Before knowing if you can freeze ricotta, it is of much sense to know what it means. So, ricotta means cooked two times. When making whey cheese, producers do not throw away the leftovers, so they use it to make ricotta cheese.
Its flavor is delicate and sweet. The texture is smooth with high moisture amounts.
Recipe with ricotta cheese
Ricotta cheese is suitable for most cooked foods. You can find various recipes you can add your ricotta cheese. Have you found any? Try out this recipe, and you and the others you serve will enjoy it.
What you need
- Ricotta cheese- 15 ounces.
- One onion, small.
- One egg
- Fresh parsley, 2 teaspoons, minced
- Pepper, ½ tsp
- Salt, ¼ tsp
- Mozzarella cheese, 1 cup shredded.
- Parmesan cheese, 1 cup, grated
- Marinara sauce, 4 cups.
- Water, ½ cup
- Manicotti shells, 68 ounces
- Preheat the oven to 3600
- Take the first six items and stir them in a bowl with ½ cup mozzarella cheese plus ½ cup of parmesan cheese.
- Take a separate box and mix water and marinara sauce. Ooze cooking spray into your baking dish, then spread ¾ of your sauce into the food.
- Fill the ricotta mixture into uncooked manicotti shells, then arrange them over the sauce. Top the ingredients with the remaining sauce.
- Cover, then put it into your oven and leave it to bake for 50 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes or wait until the cheese melts. Sprinkle the additional parsley if you wish.
- Feel free to serve your loved ones.
Does ricotta cheese go bad? A few things to tell
Ricotta cheese goes bad because it contains too much moisture, unlike other hard cheeses. You can look for these signs to know that it is spoilt.
The way ricotta cheese appears will be the first sign to tell you that it has gone bad. It may have some blue or grey molds grown on it. However, some soft cheese like Danish blue may have a blue layer of edible mold when you buy it. So, please do not confuse it with a spoilt one.
When molds grow on the cheese, you can still cut them off and use the cheese. But for ricotta, kindly avoid it and throw it away.
The color may also turn from the usual white to brown or yellow.
Throw the cheese if it becomes watery.
Ricotta cheese has no odor, unlike most cheeses. It is pretty mild with a milky taste and smell. So, you can quickly note that it is spoilt if you notice a fermented smell.
How long does ricotta cheese last?
When you acquire ricotta cheese from the stores, you will always find a use-by date on its package. It is the date that the manufacturer guarantees that the cheese will reach. So it is essential to check it constantly.
Note that an unopened ricotta cheese will last between two to four weeks. It can go past two weeks or a week past the expiry date. However, it would be best to avoid using the cheese anytime it crosses its best-by date.
Can you freeze ricotta cheese?
Many people have different views about freezing Ricotta cheese. Some say you can, while others claim that you should not. But now you have too much of it left, and you cannot throw it away, what would you do? Preserve it by freezing.
Once you freeze it, water comes from it hence becomes like ice. So, its texture will change to be more crumbly and dry.
If you do not want the one you are serving to notice the change in this texture, only use the previously frozen ricotta cheese in cooked dishes. The foods that are okay with the cheese include spinach ricotta quiche. Anyone you serve will not notice the cheese is not fresh, but only you.
However, you will only need to use fresh ricotta cheese in dishes that need fresh cheese. Besides, you can also scoop it with a spoon. Why not give yourself a treat after a long sunny day?
How to freeze ricotta cheese?
Now that you can freeze your ricotta cheese let nothing hold you back. How much do you wish to use once you thaw it? If you intend to use a little of it, do not freeze a huge block of this cheese. Just cut pieces that will be enough for your recipe. And in case it is not enough, a second piece will not overdo it.
Check below the steps to carry out the activity.
The cheese contents may have some water; ensure you remove it. Put your cheese on a flat surface or paper towel to allow it to drain the excess water. If it is too big, cut it into the sizes you wish.
Pack the cheese into airtight containers or plastic bags. The bags should not have holes to prevent air from reaching the cheese.
Use a pen to mark the packs, each with a date to help you know how long you will use it. Besides, the label will also help you distinguish the contents in the packs if the freezer has other items.
4. Transfer the packs to the freeze.
You are now through with the packaging. Feel free to arrange the packs in the freezer and let them catch the freeze. If you think your cheese will be in the freeze for more than a month, you will need to add another layer of protection to the packs.
You can think of packing the cheese in plastic bags first, then place them in a container.
How long does ricotta cheese last in the Freezer/fridge?
Once you place your ricotta cheese in the freezer, you should not be worried about how long it can be there. Even up to three months, your cheese will still be okay. However, most producers would not recommend that. But so long as you do not see any spoilt signs on the cheese, you can use it.
Freezing ricotta cheese tips
To successfully freeze your ricotta cheese, you need some tips to help you through. Below are some of them.
1. Consider the expiry date.
Always freeze fresh cheese. It would be better if you did not wait until it is almost expiring to freeze it.
It is best to freeze the whole ricotta cheese before opening it. However, if you will not use the whole of it after thawing it, you can divide it into portions. Ensure you drain any water in it, then pack it in an airtight container.
3. Freezing period
Do not keep in the freezer for more than two months. If it exceeds this time, its taste and texture become so much altered.
How to thaw ricotta cheese
So you have decided the kind of dish to cook, and you wish to include your frozen ricotta cheese? Here is how you can go about thawing it.
Method #1: Use the fridge
The fridge is the perfect place to thaw your cheese. For best results, you can leave it inside all through the night. If you want it to thaw quicker, you can dip it in a bowl of cold water.
You need around four to eight hours to defrost the ricotta cheese. So, it is always best to have this time in mind when you plan to use it in your recipe.
Method #2: On the counter
The counter is not the best place to thaw your ricotta cheese. It is easier for the cheese to be contaminated. However, it is the best way if you need it to thaw fast.
If you choose this method, dip the cheese in a bowl of cold water, then place it on your counter. Change the water after an hour or when it gets too cold. It may take around two or three hours to thaw.
This method increases the chances of bacteria spreading in the ricotta cheese. So, ensure that you use the cheese in your cooked food immediately. The heat in the food should kill any bacteria.
How to use defrosted ricotta cheese?
Once you thaw your ricotta cheese, you should be happy that it can fit in most cooked foods. Some of the dishes it can fit it include:
- Pasta dishes like lasagna.
- Cakes and other baked goods.
- Pancakes and savory dishes such as pizza.
Tips for using frozen and thawed ricotta cheese
Use the cheese on what you know.
If you are using ricotta cheese for the first time, ensure it is fresh. Also, use it IN those recipes you are sure about. You do not need disappointments. Why leave the food you have used your time and resources to gather?
1. Check the texture
You may not notice the texture change in ricotta cheese. Even though you will see that change in some dishes, such as pancakes, you may not need to be worried. If the texture is too light, you can also fix it by adding something like flour. Only do what is necessary for the recipe, though.
2. Freeze the dish
Instead of using a thawed ricotta cheese on your meal, you can opt to cook the meal then freeze it. Some meals like cheesecake freeze so well and taste great when frozen. So, use the fresh ricotta cheese on the meal, then freeze the whole meal after cooking it.
-Can you freeze the ricotta cheese mixture?
Yes. There is no problem freezing any mixture that contains ricotta cheese. So if you have your ricotta cheese inside some eggs, parmesan cheese, herbs, etc., you should not throw it away; always store it in the freezer. You will only need to drain any excess liquid from the mixture.
-Can you freeze smooth ricotta cheese that comes in a plastic tub?
Yes, you can. Only remember that the tub is not the best material to freeze the cheese on. So, you may need to transfer the contents into a sealable bag then freeze it.
So, can you freeze ricotta cheese after reading this piece? I think you now know that you can freeze it. You only need to consider the tips above so that your freezing experience will be the best.
So, if you bought excess ricotta cheese, do not fret about freezing it. Let your family and friends get the best ricotta cheese treat in your next recipe.
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