Cheese is hard not to love. Whether it’s spread on your morning toast, drizzled onto a healthy lunchtime salad or simply stuffed inside meatballs, it has the power to make any meal extra special. To waste such a wonderful ingredient would be something of a tragedy. Sadly, we waste a whole lot: in the UK alone 3.1 million slices of cheese are thrown away everyday. Incedently the UK also wastes 360,000 tons of milk annualy (see how you can save yours here).
It’s never been more improtant to make the most of our resources, and considering how much energy dairy takes to produce, we should be making the very most of it. Luckily, there are many ways to prolong the lifespan of your dairy delights. Read on for a few fresh ideas for keeping your kitchen cheesy.
The best way to store cheese is to keep it sealed, using cling film, foil, parchment paper or baking paper. This stops moisture escaping from some cheeses, while also keeping any strong, pungent smells from clinging onto all our other foods in the fridge! Sealing your cheese should keep it fresh for some weeks, but if you see a spot of mould, you can easily just scrape it off.
If you have cottage cheese or cream cheese going spare, there are a multitude of ways to turn it into something delicious. Try whisking it up as a filling for light cheesecake (and make it even lighter with a little yoghurt). One easy and delicious thing to do with that last bit of cottage cheese is make a berry and cottage cheese sandwich. Just layer the cheese, fresh berries and a little honey between two slices of thick, chewy sourdough, for a breakfast that is fresh, healthy utterly satisfying.
You can also add it to pancake and waffle batter to replace some of the milk. It’s a great way to get that extra bit of protein in your diet, especially if you’re veggie. Try making three ingredient cottage cheese pancakes by combining half a cup of cottage cheese, half a cup of rolled oats and three eggs in a blender. This is a healthy yet indulgent power breakfast that pretty much guarantees a great start to the day.
Rinds are too often tossed, but hang on to them and make yourself an easy and luxurious parmesan oil. If you find yourself with more cheese than you could possibly eat, remember that you can always freeze it! Hard cheese, such as cheddar, swiss cheeses or soft cheeses such as brie or Camembert can be wrapped and stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. Cream cheese can also be frozen, but it doesn’t keep the same texture, so it’s best to use it for cooking once defrosted.
If you have any cheese left over from a party or simply a block hanging around the back of the fridge, try whipping it up into a simple cheese sauce. It’s super simple and goes great with anything from pasta to potatoes. You can even use rinds of harder cheeses to add a deeper flavour. Just bring some milk or cream to a gentle simmer, then grate whatever cheese you have left into it. You can add a little flour to thicken the sauce, and any seasonings you fancy.
For something really quick and tasty, line an oven tray with baking paper, grate up your cheese and press the shreds into small disks. Then bake at 160 degrees until golden for yummy cheese crisps you can eat hot or cold. They also look gorgeous as a garnish for soup.