Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Choosing cheese is tough these days.
Domestic - Imported. Sharp - mild. Grated, shredded and chunk.
Stay close to nature and you'll get the most nutritional (and flavorful) bang for your grocery buck.
Check the labels for the information your need to know:
1. Good quality cheese is pure and simple.
Milk or cream, enzymes or rennet and usually salt.
It doesn't matter what type or kind of cheese you're buying... cheddar, feta, mozzarella, cottage , ricotta or goat.
Good cheese doesn't require binders, fillers or starch so ask yourself why they're added.
It may take some searching but there are plenty of high quality cheeses readily available that don't contain additives.
2. Orange cheese has coloring added.
Your don't need to eat artificial coloring if you can help it. You already get plenty in food your have no control over.
Sometimes annatto is used as the coloring. Annatto is a natural coloring derived from grape skins and many people feel it's OK.
Blue cheese, by the way comes by its blue color naturally. Blue cheese (as a rule) is not colored.
3. Shredded cheese is dusted with an invisible film of starch to keep it from clumping.
You don't need added starch in your diet plus the starch keeps you from tasting the cheese fully.
4. Shaker style, grated cheese had cellulose added to keep it shaking freely.
Like the starch in shredded cheese, the cellulose gets in the way of the flavor.
5. Nothing beats the way that whole milk cheese melts.
Low fat cheese doesn't melt; it just gets rubbery.
6. Avoid cheese made with corn syrup.
Corn syrup is more often found in prepared cheeses, spread and blends than in chunk cheese but you just can't be too careful these days. You MUST always read the label.
Corn syrup is added for a variety of reasons. It helps the cheese product flow through machines for packaging. It acts as a preservative. It's used for flavoring. And its cheap so it sometimes is used to extend the ingredients and reduce manufacturing costs. In other words, it replaces the dairy nutrients of a cheese product with nutritionally void, empty calorie carbs.
7. Skip ersatz low fat cheeses.
Some cheeses are naturally low fat. These are delicious to eat, good for you and should be enjoyed for what they are.
Manufactured low fat cheese (like fat free cream cheese) are pale imitations of the real thing and not worth the calories.
If fat is your concern, learn to modify portions to make real cheese something to be savored.
When buying cheese, stay close to nature.
The cheese (and your recipes) will taste great and be more nutritious.
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