The world-famous ricotta cheese has a lot of fans around the world. This Italian cheese has a distinctive taste which most people prefer over some other cheeses. It’s smooth and creamy in texture, and therefore it’s much easier to mix with other ingredients than let’s say a cheddar.
But, the thing about ricotta cheese is that it can’t stay out for too long. So, what if the situation is that you bought too much ricotta cheese and now you’re left with leftovers, and you can’t use them for anything. Or you just wanted to make a stock of the cheese because the local supermarket won’t have it anymore. Or you just didn’t use all of it in the first go. Whatever may be the reason, it’s pretty much a hassle to repurchase the cheese if you want to use it for another meal. So, is there any way to preserve the ricotta cheese once you get it out from the package? Thankfully there is.
In this article, we’ll cover some of the tips you can utilize yourself to preserve your ricotta cheese and use it one more time before it heads to the bin. Although you can know your cheese is out of date just by looking at it or smelling it (this applies to ricotta but other types of cheese as well). Still, if you see that your cheese has a bit of life left in it, it’s time to learn how to make it last a bit longer. Let’s see what happens to ricotta when we freeze it.
Can You Freeze It?
Since now you know you can freeze ricotta, let’s see how it goes. Ricotta is similar to other types of creamy cheeses. For most of them, you can prolong their shelter life if you put them in the refrigerator. Now from this point, it all depends on the cheese. Some will last longer, some shorter.
Ricotta is the same. You can prolong its life by freezing it, but there are some rules that you need to follow if you want this to work. It’s not like oh I’ll just put my cheese into the fridge, and that’s it. It’s a bit more complicated. And you need to know a few facts before you undergo such a procedure.
Does the Texture Change After Freezing
Freezing ricotta cheese will change its texture, unfortunately. As with other things, there is a downside. Ricotta is a cheese that is filled with moisture. Do you know what happens when you freeze water? It turns into ice.
Same goes for ricotta. Since it’s creamy and smooth when unpacked, if you put it in the fridge, it will become stiff and harder. All the moisture in it will freeze, and therefore the cheese will become stiffer itself. The moment you take it out of the fridge, the ice within it will start to melt, and ricotta will become creamy as it was in the beginning. Now, bear in mind that it will never be the same. It will become drier, and even though it won’t be stiff as when it’s frozen, it will become crumbly and more dehydrated than before.
What to Do About the Changing Texture
This article has become kind of a list of good and bad news. Here comes the good news. Once you take the ricotta out of the fridge, you need to use it in a dish, right? We advise you that you don’t use it for the same meals as you would with fresh ricotta.
Instead, use it with cooked food. Even though it’s a bit dry and crumbly, it will do wonders with cooked food. The mixture is so good that you might forget about fresh ricotta forever.
Little About Ricotta Cheese
Ricotta cheese has been present for a while. It originates from Italy, and it’s made from cow’s milk, and therefore, it has a strong taste which almost all cow’s milk-based cheeses have. If we can describe it with another cheese, here it is – It’s a mild version of cottage cheese but with a smoother texture.
The overall taste of ricotta cheese is a bit sweet. Hence, if you want to find a perfect cheese for some of your delightful delicates, ricotta is the first choice. In Italian, ricotta means “baked twice”, and it’s often made from the leftover of other cheeses. Since the product from different cheeses is used again to make ricotta, you can see where the name comes from.
Ricotta cheese goes well with other types of food too, not just sweets. It goes hand in hand with wine, pasta or pizza.
Since now we all know how versatile ricotta is, the million-dollar question is: how can you make it last longer? And the answer is straightforward – freeze it.
With Readymade Ricotta Cheese
If you buy ricotta in a supermarket or from a store specialized for cheeses you will probably get your ricotta in a provided container, which is pretty convenient as you can store it in it. You can simply put the cheese in the box and prolong its life before putting it in the fridge.
If you already opened a container, you need to close it before it dries out. Remember how we talked about all the moisture in ricotta. Well if it’s outside for too long, it can dry out in a matter of days, and that’s no good for anyone.
Alternative Ways of Storing Ricotta Cheese
If you thought freezing it was the only way, you were wrong. Of course, it’s the best way. And if you want to keep the cheese usable for a bit more time, you should stick to it.
But, other than that, there are different ways of preserving the ricotta’s freshness. First of all, air sealed bags. You know how they look, right? They are pretty self-explanatory. You place your cheese into them, and it cuts most of the air that might penetrate it, which is great since your cheese will last longer and it won’t get dry so quickly.
Another way of storing it and saving space at the same time is if you can get the ricotta into smaller pieces. It will take less space, and surely you’ll be able to freeze or put more in the container.
Also, another way to monitor your cheese is to mark the date when you first used it. Now we know this isn’t a perfect solution, but it’s a great overall tip which can be applied to all types of cheese.
The approximate shelf life of frozen ricotta cheese is no more than two months. After that, the cheese will become an ice cube. After those two months, almost any cheese won’t be edible. So, mark the date you started eating them and keep an eye on it from time to time.
Ricotta Cheese Alternatives
We know this isn’t directly related to the freezing of ricotta, but it can help you out if you’re left out of the cheese or if you don’t have enough of ricotta, but you need to use some. Think of any goat cheese, Feta or Fromage blanc. Those are just some of them, but if you want to learn more about ricotta alternatives, you can explore our blog and find a topic just for that matter.
All in all, ricotta cheese is very versatile meaning many other kinds of cheese can swap it. You virtually need a creamy cheese made from goat’s milk. Not that hard to find heh?
If you want to prolong your ricotta cheese, now you know how. You can freeze it and use it with cooked meals to make a whole different kind of meals. You can store it in various containers or air-proof bags which will prolong its shelf life even more. And if that’s not enough for you, you can always find an alternative to the cheese with a similar texture.
We think this is the best part of the article to tell you a piece of crucial information. And it’s that everything we said in this article can be applied to other cheeses as well, not just to ricotta. Every single cheese has its limited life cycle, and therefore, not all of them can last forever. Sure, certain types can age for years, but still, there isn’t a cheese which is immortal. Especially if we know that most household cheese is similar to ricotta.
With that being said, you need to keep an eye of the age of your cheese and know that once you open the package that it’s stored in, the clock starts ticking. From that point on, it’s just a matter of time in which the cheese will become unusable, and the critical end of this article is to stop that.