Freezing Cottage Cheese: Why, When, and How
The short answer to the question “Can You Freeze Cottage Cheese” is a simple “yes.” Cottage Cheese can be frozen successfully, as long as you have the right elements in place and follow proper food handling practices.
So, you can have your cottage cheese and eat it, too. You can also freeze it for posterity and to make it easier to buy in bulk.
Why Store Cottage Cheese?
If you own a standalone freezer, you already know how valuable it is to buy food in bulk to save money. Moreover, some foods are hard to find on sale. When they do go on sale, the first thing you want to do is get as much of it as possible to enjoy the benefits of a good sale.
Cottage cheese is one of those foods that could easily fall under the “middle class gourmet” category because, even though it is used in regular meals, it is not cheap.
It is no surprise that, once it goes on sale, we fly to the supermarket to get many tubs of one of the best delicacies out there.
The question you may have had is: Is it smart to try and freeze cottage cheese for later use? The answer might surprise you. Due to its natural properties, and fat content, cottage cheese is quite easy to preserve through freezing. Follow through the suggestions we offer you here so that you, too, can enjoy this great food any time of the year.
But first, here is why I think cottage cheese is worth freezing:
- The thicker and larger the curds, the more expensive the cottage cheese will be. Moreover, a lot of people prefer to have their cottage cheese already prepared and pre-packed in portions. Some of these portions are combined with fruit and nuts, which make a perfectly balanced and delicious snack.
- Cottage cheese is also very easy to use and swap for a lot of other cheeses. You can use it instead of ricotta to make lasagna. You can use it as a substitute for yogurt (when processed until smooth) and it can even be a good substitute for sour cream, heavy cream, and half and half.
- My own college kids swear that cottage cheese is a perfect food for breakfast. They eat it with nuts, chocolate chips and jam. I have used it as a substitute for mascarpone and ricotta in several recipes, including cannoli. I know for a fact it can be used as part of many cheeses for lasagna, and it is great to make macaroni and cheese ten times creamier. Just make it creamy using your food processor. It is great!
- Cottage cheese mixes beautifully with other creamy fruits and vegetables to make some of the most creative smoothies, creamy treats, and even ice cream.
So, now that you can see the many reasons why cottage cheese is such a cherished food, here is a way to preserve it for months at a time!
How To Freeze Cottage Cheese
Here are some guidelines on how to freeze your cottage cheese:
- You can choose whatever kind of cottage cheese you want. However, we strongly suggest you select the large curd cottage cheese. Think about it: the denser the consistency of the cheese, the more it will resemble the consistency of other white cheeses, such as mozzarella and burrata, and other easy-to-freeze items.
- Try to keep your cottage cheese in its original container prior to freezing. The idea is that the contents are in the ideal place where they preserve best. Nothing beats the original. Another option could be an air-tight container for the freezer. A third option could be freezer bags. Just make sure that you pack your cottage cheese tightly to avoid air bubbles. This will help preserve the cheese better.
- As you place your containers in the freezer, be sure to write the date of freezing right outside the container using permanent marker. This way you can see how long the container has been there.
- Do not mix other foods with the cottage cheese you plan to store. Do not freeze it with fruit, nuts, or other perishable items that may not do too well in freezing conditions. Doing so may cause food to spoil while damaging your entire bowl of cottage cheese. For example, if you want to freeze a mixture of cottage cheese and strawberries, keep in mind that the freezer life and refrigeration needs of fruits are way different than those of dairy. Therefore, two different items with variable freezer lives may spell disaster.
How long can I freeze cottage cheese for?
- While there is no final answer as to how long cottage cheese should last in the freezer, the consensus is that it can remain fully preserved in frozen state for about 4-6 months.
What do I do after I remove the frozen cottage cheese from the freezer?
- To thaw the cottage cheese, place it in the refrigerator and give it as long as it needs to shed all the icy surface.
Let all the ice come off on its own, so try not to stir it. Under no circumstance try to heat it up the cottage cheese. It will make a huge mess and the consistency of the cheese will be ruined.
- Another way to thaw frozen cottage cheese is by placing the container in water. The water must be either cold or at room-temperature. Do not put the container in boiling water! A dramatic change in temperature will ruin your food especially after being frozen for so long.
How does thawed cottage cheese look and feel?
- Thawed cottage cheese may not have the same texture as a freshly-opened batch does, but, in the end, it holds the same flavor as the original.
Issues with thawed cottage cheese:
- Thawed ice means: WATER! Yes, your cottage cheese will be watery and in need of drainage once thawed out. If you are going to use this cottage cheese for cooking, go ahead and use it freely, since the excess water will evaporate during the cooking process. You get the same creamy, savory finish if you use formerly frozen cottage cheese.
- Now, if you want to consume it “as is” just keep in mind that the excess moisture and ice fragments in your cottage cheese will make it taste a funny. Drain it, let it sit, and wait as long as possible to consume the cottage cheese at room temperature, that is, provided you the temperature in such isn’t steaming hot!
Ways to enjoy cottage cheese in meals:
Use 1 cup of cottage cheese instead of milk, heavy cream, cream cheese, or even sour cream, in major popular recipes that include:
- cakes and waffles
- cheesecakes and fruit tarts
- creamy soups (try it with pumpkin and butternut squash soups)
- creme brulee
- cheese sauces
When Should You Freeze Cottage Cheese?
Freezing cottage cheese is no different than freezing other kinds of dairy-based foods. It will preserve as long as you do it correctly. Here are some of the reasons people would want to freeze cottage cheese.
Future menus: Hello, bakers and cake artists!
- Keep your frozen cottage cheese as a wonderful alternative to milk, cheese, cream, or half-and half. You can use frozen cream cheese for cooking immediately as you remove it from the freezer. You can store larger amounts and avoid having to find storage to gallons of milk or half and half containers.
- Cottage cheese is more pungent, savory, thick and consistent than milk. It is a wonderful substitute for cooking.
- If you are coupon savvy, you know that cottage cheese is one of those foods that are not always on sale. It is not a cheap snack, either, so if you get a chance to get it cheaper, get as much of it as you can. Store it in the freezer, and pat yourself in the back for a wonderful purchase.
- Bought too much of a good thing? Kids went back to campus and didn’t eat the 200 snacks you got for their visit? Sudden change in your diet?
- Don’t let your extra cottage cheese go to waste. Just freeze it and put it to good use in dozens of awesome recipes that call for it directly, or which could swap some ingredients in favor of cottage cheese. It is a great substitute!!!
If you ever need to freeze cottage cheese, do it right and do not fear. There are dozens of ways to use it and not let it go to waste!