Ricotta cheese is a deliciously creamy at watery kind of cheese which is usually produced as a by-product while making other cheeses like provolone or mozzarella. While it is best to consume while fresh, a common question asked by many is, “Can you freeze Ricotta cheese?”
How Is Ricotta Cheese Prepared?
Before going into that point, it would be good to know how Ricotta cheese is made. As previously stated, it is merely an outcome of the whey produced from making other cheeses; it can also be made using ingredients found at home – namely lemon juice and milk.
As the cheeses or the ingredients are being cooked and whey forms, the whey is then collected, cooked again and finally drained of the liquid until it becomes the tasty and creamy curd, which we all know as Ricotta cheese.
It’s as simple as that! Now that you know how to make Ricotta cheese, let’s move on to the question, “Can you freeze Ricotta cheese?”
Can Ricotta Cheese Actually Be Frozen?
Simply put, the answer is yes! Ricotta cheese can be frozen, but the proper way of doing so is essential to know. It would be such a waste if you’ve made a big batch of this kind of cheese only for it to spoil.
It is good to note, though that if you eat or use Ricotta which has already been frozen then thawed, it may have a slightly different flavour and texture. It could also lose some of its moisture and would be more difficult to slice up.
At its worst state (maybe if you’ve kept it frozen for too long), your cheese might develop freezer burn, losing all of its moisture and when this happens, your cheese will end up tasting awful. So even though Ricotta cheese can be frozen, it’s probably a good idea not to keep it frozen for too long.
Freezing Your Ricotta Cheese
Freezing Ricotta cheese on will last in the freezer for a good amount of time, but if you’d like it to last longer than that, you simply need to do the following steps:
- For newly bought Ricotta cheese, which is still in its original packaging, keep it sealed and simply place it in the freezer.
- If you’ve already opened your Ricotta cheese, but it’s still in its original packaging, you can lengthen its viability by placing it in a freezer bag, let all the air out of it then make sure to tightly seal it before placing it in the freezer.
- Keeping Ricotta cheese in containers is okay as long as you container is airtight. To place Ricotta cheese in containers, either place them first inside sealed freezer bags or place the whole container in a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn.
- Always make sure that the Ricotta cheese you’re planning to freeze is still fresh. It would be unwise to freeze cheese which is near the expiration date.
- If there are traces of whey in the packaging or in the container, make sure to remove it as it will curdle the cheese.
- For big quantities, it would be better to freeze your cheese in small, separate portions.
- Also, make sure that your freezer is maintained at a 0˚F temperature or lower.
- Finally, label your cheese bags or containers with the date you’ve frozen them so you’re aware, as keeping your cheese in the freezer for longer than 45 days would most likely spoil it.
When it’s time for you to eat or use your cheese for cooking, make sure to take note of the condition of your cheese. If it has developed an undesirable smell or taste and its colour has turned yellow, it may have already spoiled and it must be thrown out.
Freezing Dishes with Ricotta Cheese
Freezing Ricotta cheese already added into dishes will yield better outcomes that freezing the cheese on its own.
There are many dishes which may contain Ricotta cheese such as:
- Ricotta pie
- Other stuffed pastries and pasta.
When dealing with dishes like these, it would be more advisable to portion your dishes into smaller servings and then freeze them. This would make your dishes easier to thaw out and serve.
Desserts which have Ricotta cheese may be frozen too, as long as you don’t keep them in the freezer for more than a month.
Thawing Out Your Frozen Cheese
When you’re ready to use your frozen Ricotta cheese, the first thing to do is to make sure that there is enough space in your refrigerator. It would be best to thaw your cheese or cheese dishes in the refrigerator, even if it takes a longer time. Thawing food in temperatures higher than 40˚F for a long period of time.
Once your cheese has thawed out, you may remove it from the container then use a fork to mix the liquid and curds that have separated, to give back the creaminess of the cheese.
For dishes with Ricotta cheese, after thawing in the refrigerator, you can pop it in the microwave or heat it further over the stove before serving.
Make sure to consume the cheese and cheese dishes right after thawing to avoid it getting spoiled.
Conclusion – Should You Freeze Your Ricotta Cheese?
Now that you know the answer to the question, “Can you freeze Ricotta cheese?” and you know how to do it, the next question is, should you?
While Ricotta cheese can be frozen and thawed out successfully, the whole process does change its flavor and texture. Having a delicate and creamy consistency, Ricotta cheese is best when consumed while it’s fresh.
A superb addition to different fruits and a delectable topping for bread and pastries, Ricotta cheese would be enjoyed best when it has just been made or the packaging has just been opened.
However, if you’d have to choose between freezing or allowing it to spoil, the former is obviously the best choice? Just keep in mind the right ways to freeze your Ricotta cheese and try keeping the freezing time as short as possible. Enjoy your Ricotta treat!