Feta cheese is a soft, white cheese made from a combination of sheep’s and goat’s milk. It is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine and is commonly used in salads, sandwiches, and pastries. Feta’s tangy, salty, and creamy flavor can take any dish to the next level. But the question that often pops up is – What Is Feta Cheese?
The answer isn’t straightforward and depends on various factors like the type of feta, storage method, and whether it’s opened or unopened. Don’t worry, though! In this blog, I’ll give you tips on how to store feta cheese correctly and talk about five yummy feta cheese recipes to try at home.
Types of Feta Cheese
Did you know that there are loads of different types of feta cheese, each with its distinct taste and texture? Check out some of the most popular ones below.
Greek feta is the most popular feta cheese type you’ll find out there. It’s made with mostly sheep’s milk (70% or more) and a bit of goat’s milk for that tangy, salty flavor we all love. It crumbles like a dream, which makes it a great topping for cold soups and salads or to toss into beans and greens.
Bulgarian feta, also called “Sirene”, has a tangier and saltier taste than Greek feta. It has a springier and firmer texture and does not crumble as easily.
French feta is known for its mild and creamy qualities, distinguishing it from other types of feta. It’s not as salty as other feta varieties and has a softer texture, making it perfect for whipping in a blender and serving as a veggie dip or spreading on crusty bread. If you’re roasting cauliflower, a spoonful of French feta can take it to the next level.
This soft cheese is usually made from sheep’s milk and aged in brine for about a month. It’s not as salty and has a much milder taste than Greek feta. Plus, its texture is more suitable for slicing rather than crumbling.
Danish feta is made with cow’s milk and has a milder and creamier texture than other feta types. Some people argue about its authenticity, but many love its velvety and smoother consistency made through ultrafiltration.
If you want to achieve a smoother texture in your recipe, consider using Danish-style feta.
Feta Cheese Blocks or Crumbled Feta Cheese?
If you want to save time in the kitchen, crumbled feta cheese is the way to go! You can easily sprinkle it on top of salads, pasta dishes, or pizzas without doing any extra work.
But, a feta block tends to have a longer shelf life than crumbled feta, as the latter is more prone to drying out and spoiling faster.
Feta Blocks in Brine or No Brine?
When purchasing feta blocks, you’ll typically find them wrapped in plastic, sold in an airtight container with brine, or without brine.
If you want to make sure your feta lasts long, it’s best to go for the option sold in a brine container. The brine acts as a protective shield against air exposure, which can dry out the cheese and cause it to taste funky.
Health Benefits of Feta Cheese
Feta cheese is not just delicious; it’s also loaded with nutrients! For starters, it’s a great source of protein, calcium, and vitamin B12, which are all important for a healthy body. Plus, it’s lower in calories and fat compared to other soft cheeses, making it a great option for people watching their weight.
It also contains probiotics that can help improve digestion and boost the immune system. They help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut, which is important for overall health.
To learn about the other health benefits of feta cheese, check out The Health Benefits of Feta.
How Long Does Feta Cheese Last?
The shelf life of feta cheese depends on whether it is opened or unopened, as well as how it is stored.
How to Freeze Feta Cheese That Is Unopened?
Unopened feta cheese blocks can last 2-3 months if stored properly. The expiration date on the packaging is a good indicator of how long the cheese will last, but it can last 2 weeks to a month past the expiration date if it is stored properly.
On the other hand, unopened feta cheese crumbles are not typically packed in brine, meaning they have a shorter shelf life than feta in brine. However, they are safe to consume up to a week after the labeled date.
The best way to store unopened feta cheese is to keep it in its original packaging in the refrigerator. Make sure the packaging is sealed tightly to prevent air from entering. Feta cheese should be stored at a temperature between 35°F and 40°F.
How to Store Feta Cheese That Is Opened?
If you have feta cheese in the brine, keep the opened container in the refrigerator and ensure the cheese is entirely submerged. This process helps to maintain the cheese’s moisture and flavor.But, if the brine becomes cloudy or smells off, it’s time to replace it.
If your feta cheese is not in brine, wrap the remaining cheese tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator. Be sure to press out any excess air before sealing it.
Once opened, leftover feta cheese can be refrigerated and consumed for 5-7 days. If you store the opened feta blocks in their brine or add feta crumbles to a brine, they can last for around a month.
Alternatively, you can extend the shelf life of leftover feta blocks by storing them in olive oil, which can preserve their freshness for up to 2 weeks.
How to Thaw Frozen Feta Cheese?
Thawing frozen feta cheese is a simple process that can be done in a few easy steps. Here’s how to thaw frozen feta cheese:
- Remove the frozen feta cheese from the freezer and transfer it to the refrigerator. Place the feta cheese in a container or plate to catch any moisture that may accumulate as it thaws.
- Allow the feta cheese to thaw in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. The amount of time required to defrost the cheese will depend on its size and the temperature of your refrigerator.
- Once the feta cheese has thawed, remove it from the fridge and unwrap it from any packaging. It’s important to let the cheese come to room temperature for best results.
- Pat the feta cheese dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture accumulated during the thawing process.
How to Tell if Your Feta Cheese Has Gone Bad?
Like all perishable food items, feta cheese can eventually go bad if not properly stored. Eating spoiled feta cheese can cause food poisoning and other health problems, so it is important to know if your feta cheese has gone bad. Here are some signs to look for.
Feta cheese has a strong, tangy aroma, but it has likely gone bad if it smells sour, rancid, or like ammonia. If the cheese has an off odor, it is best to throw it away.
Feta cheese should be white with a crumbly texture. If the cheese is discolored or has green or blue mold, it has likely gone bad. Mold can also grow inside the cheese, so check the entire piece of cheese for any signs of mold.
Feta cheese should have a crumbly texture, but if it is slimy, dry, or mushy, it has likely gone bad. The cheese may also become hard and dry if exposed to air for too long.
5 Delicious Recipes for Your Frozen Feta Cheese
Love feta cheese as much as we do? Here are five awesome dishes to try!
Macaroni and Feta Cheese
If you’re looking for for a hearty and delicious pasta dish, you can’t go wrong with macaroni and feta cheese. Cook up some macaroni until it’s perfectly tender, then mix it with a creamy, flavorful sauce made from crumbled feta cheese, milk, garlic, and other spices.
To add extra nutrition and flavor, toss in veggies like spinach, tomatoes, and roasted red peppers. Then, bake it together in a casserole dish until the top is golden and crispy.
Once it’s out of the oven, sprinkle on fresh herbs like parsley or basil to really make it pop. This macaroni and feta cheese casserole will surely be a hit with everyone at the dinner table!
Read more: Instant Pot Panera Mac And Cheese Recipe
Spinach Feta Grilled Cheese
With fresh spinach and crumbled feta cheese sandwiched between two slices of golden-brown bread, this sammie is loaded with flavor.
The salty feta and slightly bitter spinach work together perfectly to create a delicious taste that’ll have you coming back for more. Plus, it’s super easy to make – just butter up your bread, layer on your ingredients, and grill until it’s crispy and melty.
If you want to mix things up, feel free to add some sliced tomatoes, onions, or roasted red peppers to make it your own. Whether you’re in the mood for an awesome quick lunch or an easy dinner, spinach feta grilled cheese is the perfect pick!
Roasted Sweet Potato
If you’re like sweet and savory flavors, you’ve got to try roasted sweet potato with feta cheese. This dish is both delicious and healthy, featuring crispy-yet-tender sweet potato cubes topped with crumbled feta.
To make it, peel and cube some sweet potatoes, toss them in olive oil, pepper, and salt, and roast them in your oven until they’re perfectly caramelized. Then, sprinkle some crumbled feta cheese for a tangy, salty kick.
It’s the perfect side dish for any meal, or you can even enjoy it as a light and satisfying lunch. Give roasted sweet potato with feta cheese a try, and prepare to be wowed!
Read more: Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie
Fried Feta Honey and Sesame Seeds
If you’re looking for a tasty and unique appetizer or snack, you’ve got to try fried feta honey and sesame seeds. This Greek dish has been making waves worldwide, and for a good reason – it’s seriously delicious!
To make it, slices of feta cheese are coated in flour, dipped in beaten eggs, and then coated with nutty sesame seeds before being fried until crispy and golden. Then, the cheese is drizzled with sweet and sticky honey for the perfect balance of flavors.
It’s a great dish to serve at parties or enjoy as a quick and easy snack. Trust me – the combination of crispy cheese, nutty sesame seeds, and sweet honey is something you won’t want to miss out on!
Baked Feta Rice
Baked Feta Rice is a dish perfect for any occasion, whether you’re looking for a comforting meal or a delicious side dish. This hearty casserole features fluffy rice baked with crumbled feta cheese, juicy tomatoes, garlic, onion, and a variety of flavorful herbs and spices.
To make it, simply cook the rice in chicken broth until it’s tender and fluffy, then mix it with the other ingredients and season it with herbs and spices. Pop it in the oven until the feta cheese is melted and bubbly, and you’ve got a delicious meal that’s sure to please.
Not only is baked feta rice delicious, it’s also a great option for vegetarians looking for a protein-packed dish. And you can customize the dish to your liking by adding your favorite veggies or toppings like spinach, roasted red peppers, or olives. Give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!
There you have it! We talked about how long feta cheese lasts, how to thaw frozen cheese, and five delicious recipes you should try at home.
For more delectable feta cheese recipes, check out the Best Instant Pot Feta Cheese Pasta Salad Recipe.
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