I have come across various recipes that call for the use of ricotta cheese. A good example is a lasagna. However, most of the time, when I go to the store, I only get the large tubs of ricotta cheese. You may also experience this if your grocery store only sells large tubs or the smaller tubs run out. Usually, we can only use small tubs in various recipes.
Therefore, you may wonder, can you freeze ricotta cheese for future use?
Yes, you can freeze ricotta cheese and use it next time a recipe calls for it. Ricotta cheese will maintain its flavor for the next use if you freeze it. However, freezing will affect its texture. Refrigeration makes ricotta cheese ideal for use only in cooked meals.
In this guide, you will learn more about freezing and the best way to freeze your ricotta cheese.
Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese?
It is possible to freeze ricotta cheese. However, it is not ideal. Ricotta cheese has a very short shelf-life, unlike many other kinds of cheese. The reason for the short shelf life lies within the process of making ricotta cheese. Studies show that cheeses like swiss cheese have a longer shelf-life because they have a symbiotic bacterial culture.
Symbiotic bacteria prevent the spread of spoilage bacteria, which makes the cheese go bad. However, Ricotta cheese has a short shelf-life because it is a fresh cheese. A study shows that enzymes help to form the curd in fresh cheese. The enzymes do not support symbiotic bacteria culture, which leaves room for spoilage bacteria. However, processors drain away the enzymes to leave grains, which become the ricotta cheese. They are delicious when fresh.
Some manufacturers add preservatives to the ricotta cheese. However, frozen ricotta cheese is only ideal for certain recipes. It is especially suitable for serving in cooked meals rather than uncooked recipes.
When you freeze ricotta cheese, its texture will change because it has a high moisture content, which becomes ice. The ice will divide the curd and whey present in the cheese, which gives the cheese a crumbly and dry texture.
If you freeze it for too long, it may start to turn pink. There is no harm in eating the pink ricotta cheese. However, you should know that some spoilage bacteria are present in the cheese at this state.
How Should You Freeze Ricotta Cheese?
If you want to store your ricotta cheese properly, you do not just put it in the freezer. The following procedure will help you to freeze your ricotta cheese correctly:
- Press the Cheese Using a Stack of Paper Towels or a Spoon to Remove the Excess Whey. Most of the whey is the water present in the cheese. You remove the whey to prevent or minimize the water that turns into ice. The ice ruins the texture of your cheese. Stop pressing when the whey stops dripping out.
- Stir the Ricotta Cheese. Stirring helps to homogenize the texture and to freeze evenly.
- Pack it in Airtight Bags or Containers. You can pack it in portions or as a whole. However, it is better to pack it in small portions in an ice cube tray because you are not likely to use the entire cheese in your next recipe. Moreover, you should not refreeze ricotta cheese. Remember to keep it airtight.
- Mark the Date of Freezing on the Bag or Container. It helps you regulate how long the cheese stays in the freezer. You should not store it for more than two months.
In case you have an unopened container of ricotta cheese, you can freeze it in the original container. However, remember to mark the date of freezing.
How Do You Thaw Ricotta Cheese?
The best way to thaw ricotta cheese is to put it in the fridge for about five to six hours. You should not exceed eight hours because it will cause the texture to deteriorate faster. Avoid thawing the cheese at room temperature. Research shows room temperature makes it conducive for the spoilage bacteria present to grow and take over.
Once there is water, fully defrost poor off anyway and stir the remaining solid with a spoon.
You should try and use up the thawed ricotta in two days. It is okay to store it in the fridge during this period because you should avoid returning it to the freezer.
Ricotta Cheese • How to Drain
In case you are in a hurry, you should still thaw the cheese in the fridge. To thaw it faster, you should put the cheese in a bowl of cold water and place it in the refrigerator. It will thaw faster because water transfers heat more quickly than air.
Where Should I Use Thawed Ricotta Cheese?
Thawed ricotta cheese is only suitable for use in cooked recipes rather than uncooked ones. The heat in cooked meals melts the fat and makes the texture less prominent in the final dish. Some of the cooked dishes you can add ricotta cheese include:
- Stuffed pasta
- Pound cakes
However, you should avoid using thawed ricotta cheese in uncooked recipes because of its textures. Also, avoid adding thawed ricotta in dishes like:
- Ice cream
- Cannoli filling.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can I Freeze Ricotta Cheese?
Yes. However, you should know that freezing ricotta cheese will affect its texture. The flavor remains intact. Moreover, once you thaw it, it will only be suitable for cooked recipes because of the texture.
2. How Long Should I Freeze Ricotta Cheese?
You should freeze your ricotta cheese for a maximum of two months.
3. How Long Should I Refrigerate Ricotta Cheese?
You should store opened ricotta cheese in the fridge for about two to three days. It will have gone bad if it stays for like a week.
4. How Should You Unfreeze Ricotta Cheese?
You should first thaw the cheese in the fridge for about five to six hours. If it stays longer than eight hours, its texture will deteriorate faster.
5. What Are the Signs That My Ricotta Cheese Has Gone Bad?
Some of the ricotta cheese signs include, it has exceeded its sell-by date, has a blue or yellow appearance, or a fermented or sour odor.