Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Cheese: Why Older Is Better

posted in Dairy by Jessica Howard

Cheese

Most of us are creatures of habit when we grocery shop, quickly reaching for the same products every time. When it comes to cheese, which comes in a mind-boggling array of varieties, many shoppers never stray beyond mild cheddar.

Sure, it does the job, but next time consider trying a cheese that’s been around the block once or twice. Cheeses labeled “aged” have a sharp, intense taste that adds punch and sophistication to any dish. You may also find that the strong flavor of aged cheese means that you’re satisfied with less of it.

Cheddar cheese is aged for a minimum of nine months, and up to 5 or 6 years. “Old cheddar” is aged for 12 months, and “extra old” has been aged for 18 months. Stronger still are those aged for 3 years or 5 years — serve them on special occasions. Generally speaking, the older the cheese the more it costs per pound.

Other cheeses that grow old gracefully are Gouda, Swiss, Emmental and Monterrey Jack. Firm cheeses, like Parmesan, asiago and pecorino, have typically been aged at least two years. Their dry, hard texture makes them ideal for grating onto pasta dishes or salads.

Here are some other ideas for incorporating aged cheeses into your repertoire:

  • startcooking’s Ploughman’s Lunch, which includes wedges of sharp cheddar cheese, Branston Pickle and mixed salad, makes a great, fast meal.
  • A Cheese Tray, with some nuts and dried fruit is perfect for entertaining.

So, when it comes to cheese, out with the new and in with the old!

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4 Comments

fiza said:

Hi kathy…glad to see ur website..i’m from malaysia
actually i like to cook for my family..
my hubby like to eat cheesecake..do you have any recipe about cheesecake..?

startcooking said:

Hi Fiza,

Thanks!

Chocolate Cheese Cake Pie is perfect for beginner cooks!

You might also want to check out The Easiest Way to Make Pie

Cheers!
Kathy

Family Cookbook - Denise said:

You’re so right, aged cheese can really perk up a dish. Glad to see you mention some ideas about incorporating aged cheese is some of these dishes. You’ve given me some other ideas to try …

Quesadillas with aged Gouda has been a favorite of mine for some time.

startcooking said:

Hi Denise,
Aged Gouda is fabulous! I have never actually cooked with it. I will have to give it a try on quesadillas.
BTW, I love your web site – what a clever way for families/groups to share favorite recipes!
Cheers,
Kathy