Celebrate Cheese During National Dairy Month

Maureen Rowan Murphy

People around the world have a love affair with cheese, and it’s easy to see why! Cheese is a flavorful and

healthful addition to many dishes. Most cheeses are a good or excellent source of calcium, a nutrient that many

people are lacking in their diet, and cheese also provides other essential nutrients like phosphorus and high-quality

protein. These three nutrients are particularly important to help build and maintain healthy bones.

With so many varieties to choose from, there is something to please everyone’s palate, and cheese can fit into most healthy eating plans. Those watching sodium in their diet, can choose softer, less-aged cheeses as they generally require less salt than harder, aged varieties. There are also cheeses available that are lower in sodium and fat available. Even people with lactose intolerance can enjoy cheese by choosing natural, harder cheeses like Cheddar, Colby, Swiss and Monterey Jack.

Cheese is a complex food made with just a few simple ingredients.

Did you know?

It takes 10 pounds of milk to make just 1 pound of cheese

There are more than 300 different cheeses in the U.S. and 2000 varieties in the world

Cheddar cheese is the most popular cheese in America while Mozzarella is the most popular globally

Cheese is the 2nd largest source of dietary calcium for Americans

The most popular cheese recipe in the United States is “macaroni and cheese”

Some varieties of cheese like mozzarella, cheddar, Swiss and American, may help prevent tooth as it promotes saliva flow which leads to the elimination of sugar and acids form the mouth

1 ½ oz. natural cheese or 2 oz. processed cheese is considered a serving about 4 dice-size cubes

 

Tips for Serving and Storing Cheese

Take cheese out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes before serving for best flavor and aroma

Create a delicious cheese platter by choosing up to 5 cheeses that differ in texture, flavor, size and shape

Arrange the cheeses from mild to strong and soft to hard and provide separate knives for each cheese to keep the flavors distinct

Choose a simple cracker without excess salt or flavors to enhance the flavor of the cheese(s)

Choose crusty breads for mild cheeses or a heavy fruit or nut bread with an aged or more complex selection when serving bread

Serve cheese with your favorite fresh fruit

Grapes can be served with almost any cheese

Pears go great with blue cheese, gorgonzola or aged Gouda

Fresh berries go nicely with a soft ripened cheese such as brie or camembert

Fresh or dried figs pair deliciously with Spanish Manchego or Reggiano Parmesan

Store cut cheese, tightly wrapped, in the refrigerator, away from other aromatic foods as it absorbs other flavors, and also loses both flavor and moisture when exposed to air

 

Cooking with Cheese

It is easier to shred or grate natural cheese when cold

Four ounces of ungrated cheese yields one cup when grated  

When preparing sauces and soups, cook over low to medium heat and add toward the end of preparation as cooking over high heat, or for long periods of time, will cause the cheese to separate

For casseroles and baked dishes, sprinkle the grated/shredded cheese over the dish the last ten minutes of baking

Cheese can be enjoyed as an appetizer/snack or at any meal, and here’s a few recipe ideas.

Baked Buffalo Cheese Sticks

Kale Tomato Feta Breakfast Sandwich Cups

Whipped Feta Garlic Dip with Pita Chips

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As National Dairy Month moooooves into its second week, we are celebrating all the sweet and savory ways yogurt can add benefit and bounty to your family meals. It is packed with protein, a good source of potassium, calcium, some B vitamins and more.  Yogurt ranges in flavor and texture from delicate to decadent and everything in between – explore the many ways you can enjoy fresh, creamy yogurt!

Like milk, yogurt is a wonderfully versatile ingredient. Tangy, sweet, rich, full fat, low fat – there are a lot of ways to eat it on its own or as part of a recipe. Yogurt can complement and connect a diverse number of ingredients – spices and herbs, produce and proteins, whatever is in season can be married with yogurt. Plain Greek yogurt can substitute for mayonnaise or sour cream in recipes. Like easy and simple? Yogurt is your go-to for quick combos like parfaits with berries and granola, a whole food favorite of kids and adults. Love to entertain? Make it savory and wow your guests and family with recipes for appetizers, soups, entrees and desserts.

As we all embrace more local foods, it is great to know that for Price Chopper/Market 32 shoppers, yogurt is one of them. Dairy farming is part of the fabric of our communities. There are hundreds of dairy farms in the Northeast – over 90% of them are farmed by families that have been caring for their land and cows for generations. Dairy farmers have been navigating the same issues that have impacted us all over the last few months, and are working hard to ensure their delicious and nutritious products are available to near and far. Enjoying the yogurt and dairy items we carry in stores benefits local farms, local economies, your family and theirs – check out some of these amazing recipes, which highlight fresh items in the store right now – PICS Yogurt, sweet corn and sweet cherries!  You will make delicious memories for your family and friends when you try one of these!

Greek Chicken Wrap with Tzatziki Herb Yogurt Sauce

Spicy Sweet Corn Gazpacho

Chilled Cherry Dessert

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