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Have your cheese and enjoy it too

By Staff | Jun 7, 2013

Cheese is one of the most delicious, versatile foods enjoyed around the world. More and more cheese varieties are produced in the U.S. and available at reasonable prices.

1. Choose cheese wisely.

A variety of natural cheeses are now available in the dairy, deli, and specialty sections of many grocery stores. Check “sell by” date and look for packaging that is tightly sealed and clean. Lower-fat cheeses may work well for cooking and part-skim mozzarella is always perfect for pizza. Savor the rich, full flavors of regular cheese in moderation.

2. Store cheese properly.

Keep cheese in the coldest part of the fridge, not in the door. Grated cheese can be frozen for up to 4 months; most other cheese does not retain its proper texture after freezing. Use soft cheese (cream, cottage, ricotta, etc.) within 2 weeks. Hard cheese may keep 4 to 8 weeks when tightly wrapped; if mold grows, cut inch off the moldy side and use within 1 week.

3. Cut cheese carefully.

Cheese will cut most easily when it is first removed from the refrigerator. Use a clean, sharp knife and only cut as much as you plan to use at one time. Repeated warming and cooling degrades the texture of the cheese. Cutting for a cheese plate can be done earlier, so long as the cheese is tightly covered and returned to the fridge until 30 minutes before serving.

4. Serve cheese sensibly.

Hard cheeses taste best at room temperature. Take from fridge (whole or sliced) and let sit, covered, for 30 minutes. Treat fresh cheeses like milk and serve cold. Precutting cheese into sensible 1 to 1 oz. servings, about the size of 4 stacked dice, 2 dominos, or a cheese stick. Cheese, wheat crackers, and fruit make a tasty snack for a day hike or family outing.

5. Pair cheese properly.

Many folks are familiar with the idea of pairing cheese and wine, but different cheeses also go better with different foods. To see what tastes best with almost any cheese you can imagine, go to www.eatwisconsincheese.com/pairings/default.aspx. This online tool from the Wisconsin Cheese Board pairs cheese with food, wine, beer, and spirits.

Banana peach pops

1 cup plain yogurt

1 large banana, sliced

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup diced canned peaches, drained (canned in juice or water)

Combine all ingredients in a blender container and process until smooth. Pour into small paper cups and freeze. Place a plastic spoon or a popsicle stick in each cup when yogurt mixture is half frozen. To serve, turn cups upside down and run hot water over them until the pops slip out.

Yield: 5 Pops

Nutrition Analysis Serving Size: 1 pop Total Carb: 12 g; Calories: 68 Dietary Fiber: 1.7 g;

Total Fat: 0.9 g Sodium: 36 mg; Calories from Fat: 12% Protein: 3 g; Saturated Fat: <1.0 g

Calcium: 92 mg; Trans Fat: 0.0 g Iron: 0.2 mg

Very Berry blast

6 oz. low-fat berry yogurt

3/4 cup low fat milk

3/4 cup 100% unsweetened apple juice

Using a quart jar or container with tight fitting lid, pour milk into jar. Add yogurt and juice. Cover jar and shake until all ingredients are smooth.

Yield: 2 servings

Nutrition Analysis Serving Size: 1 cup Total Carb: 20 g; Calories: 112 Dietary Fiber: 0 g;

Total Fat: 1.3 g Sodium: 116 mg; Calories from Fat: 11% Protein: 4.7 g; Saturated Fat: <1.0 g; Calcium: 170 mg; Trans Fat: 0.0 g Iron: 0.2 mg

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