Well, I guess the more appropriate title for this week’s post would be “To be, or not to be cheese.” Has anybody ever wondered why certain cheeses in the grocery store are not labeled as such? Take Kraft Singles for instance. The writing sprawled across its packaging announces that this particular product is a “Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product” rather than just plain cheese. You may be surprised to discover that there are degrees to which cheese can actually be advertised and sold as real cheese, depending on factors such as moisture content. Nevertheless, it’s important to decode the following labels often found on cheese packaging so you know how much cheese is actually present in what you’re purchasing (Weingarten):
Pasteurized process cheese: This really means that the product you’re purchasing is 100% cheese (Weingarten).
Pasteurized process cheese food: This really means that the product you’re purchasing consists of at least 51% cheese (Weingarten).
Pasteurized process cheese product: This really means that the product you’re purchasing consists of less than 51% cheese (Weingarten).
So if something other than pasteurized process cheese food has landed in your grocery store cart, you may want to think twice about it before you arrive at the check-out line. Any and all of the following ingredients can make up the remainder of your cheese-like substances… whey, emulsifiers, milk, salts, preservatives, and/or food coloring. So, what do these additives do to their respective cheese products? They regulate consistency throughout the product, ensure a long shelf-life, guarantee the product will melt uniformly…and the list goes on and on. Yet, what do these additives do to us? Nothing outstandingly noteworthy. I guess it would be sort of noteworthy to mention that these additives are a large part of why certain cheese products are so convenient, both to buy and to eat (Weingarten).
Eating food that will rot and mold in the very near future is a very beneficial thing that you can do for your health. If it rots or it’s molding, it’s alive! Surprisingly, (or maybe not surprisingly), if you left a piece of American Cheese out on the table for an extended period of time, it would probably not mold. However, a piece of 100% cheese, with no additives would definitely mold, and much more quickly (Is).
So what’s the takeaway from this post? Expand your cheese horizons! In addition to the delicious hard cheese Manchego from Spain, that region of the world also produces the buttery Iberico, a delicious sheep, goat, and cow’s milk cheese. Of course, a good aged cheddar is always satisfying or try my personal favorite, Midnight Moon Goat Cheese…yum!
Until Next Week… Plan Well, Pack Well, Live Well,
“Is It Still Cheese?”Eating Well. n.d. Meredith Corporation, 2015. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <http://www.eatingwell.com/nutrition_health/nutrition_news_information/is_it_still_cheese>
Weingarten, Hemi. Blog.Fooducate. n.d. Fooducate LTD, 2012. Web. 13 Jan. 2015. <http://blog.fooducate.com/2012/04/24/10-things-to-know-about-processed-cheese-cheese-miniseries-part-23/>