Feta cheese is a popular semi-soft brined cheese originating from Greece, made primarily from sheep's milk or a mixture of sheep and goat's milk. It boasts a tangy, slightly salty flavor and a crumbly yet creamy texture that is part of its unique charm. Feta cheese is known for its PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) status, ensuring that authentic feta is produced under specific procedures and only in Greece.
In cooking, feta cheese is a versatile ingredient that adds a flavorful kick to many dishes. It is most commonly associated with Mediterranean cuisine, such as Greek salads and spanakopita, but can also be used in a variety of other preparations, including omelettes, pasta dishes, and even pizza toppings. Its crumbly texture makes it suitable for sprinkling on salads or soups, while its creamy softness allows it to be effortlessly incorporated into dips and sauces.
Many home cooks often have difficulties when handling and cooking with Feta cheese due to its unique texture and potent flavor. A crucial mistake is substituting it with a less tangy or saltier cheese, which can significantly change the flavor profile of the dish. Additionally, people often misuse Feta by adding it too early in the cooking process, causing it to melt excessively, lose its distinctive texture, and make the dish excessively salty. To get the most out of Feta, it should be added towards the end of the cooking or used as a topping. Furthermore, having it at room temperature before use can enhance its flavor. A less known trick is rinsing Feta cheese under cold water to reduce its brine and adjust its saltiness to one's taste.
Can you melt Feta cheese?
Can Feta cheese be cooked?
Is Feta cheese good for dieting?
Can I use Feta cheese instead of mozzarella on pizza?
Can I substitute Feta cheese with goat cheese?
How can I make Feta cheese taste less salty?
Can I use Feta cheese in pasta?
What kind of dishes is Feta cheese used in?
Is Feta cheese vegetarian?
How should I use Feta cheese as a salad topping?
Expiration & Storage Tips
When does feta cheese expire?
Unopened feta cheese generally stays fresh for about two weeks beyond its printed sell-by date when stored in the refrigerator. Once opened, it will last about 1 week if stored properly in the refrigerator. However, if you have a block of feta cheese and keep it submerged in brine, this can extend the perishable life significantly and it can last up to a month. Feta cheese is also suitable for freezing where it can stay on good condition for about two to three months. After freezing, it can lose some of its signature consistency and become a bit crumbly, but it's still great for cooking.
How do you tell if feta cheese is bad?
Feta cheese is already on the sharper side, smell-wise, but the aroma should never be off-putting. If the feta cheese gives off a strong sour or unpleasant odor, it's likely spoiled. In terms of appearance if the cheese is developing an overly slimy texture, or if you start to spot mold that wasn't originally there, this can be an indicator that your feta cheese has gone bad. Changes in color to a darker or more yellow shade is another sign of spoiled feta.
Tips for storing feta cheese to extend shelf life
• For the freshest taste, it's best to store feta cheese in the fridge.
• Store feta with brine in a container with a tight seal. This brine will keep the feta cheese's characteristic flavor and extend its life.
• If your feta didn't come in brine, you can make your own by dissolving 2 tablespoons of salt in 4 cups of water.
• Freezing feta: wrap tightly in cling film and place in a freezer bag before storing in your freezer. Remember, frozen feta is best used in cooked dishes as the texture can change a bit after freezing.
• Use a clean utensil every time you remove feta from the storage container to avoid contamination.