All about cheddar cheese > From the market to your plate
It brings flavor and creaminess to the famous Welsh rarebit.
Sold in blocks or sliced, white, yellow, orange or marble, cheddar also varies by age:
Fresh non-pressed: This is curd cheese served as an appetizer.
Mild: Aged for three months; soft curd and mild flavor. Ideal for cooking.
Medium: Aged for four to nine months; firm, melting curd with a nutty flavor.
Old: Aged for nine months to two years, firmer, drier, slightly granular curd with a robust flavor and pronounced sharpness. Excellent for cheese platters.
Extra-old: Aged from two to ten years; very pronounced flavor; for cheese platters.
If you are seeking authenticity, look for Westcountry Farmhouse Cheddar (IGP) or farm cheddar from Cheddar in southwest England, where this internationally-famous cheese originates. It bears no resemblance to the commercial versions simply called "cheddar" that are made throughout the world.
Cheddar will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 weeks. In fact, storage allows this cheese to further ripen and develop its flavor. Store in an airtight container in the crisper.
Sliced cheese is more fragile, unless the slices are individually wrapped.
You can freeze Cheddar cheese, in pieces of 500 g or less, for up to two months but it is important to keep in mind that freezing can affect texture and character. Just carefully wrap cheese in plastic wrap and place in an airtight freezer bag or vacuum pack. Before using, it is important to allow cheese to thaw slowly in the refrigerator. Thawed cheese is best reserved for use in cooking.
For a cheese plate, remove cheddar from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
Diced cheddar makes a fine addition to salads. Melted in cream or broth, it becomes a sauce for pasta or potatoes.
Sliced, it is perfect for sandwiches and burgers.
It can be grated and used to gratiné dishes.
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