The tangy, salty flavor of feta cheese is addictive. So versatile is this simple cheese that it's hard to think of a dish that feta can't be added to.
1. How Feta Cheese is Made
Feta is a cheese that everyone wants to claim as their own, but feta has been around for so long in so many cultures that its hard to say exactly where it orginated. Different cultures have different styles of feta. The unifying characteristics, however, are a salty and tangy flavor and creamy-crumbly texture.
Wherever it is made, the process of making feta is quite similar:
- Bacterial culture and rennet are added to the milk to thicken it (typically sheep or goat milk is used, but cows' milk feta is also made).
- The coagulated milk is then cut into curds and scooped into perforated molds for draining and pressing so that the curds form into a solid mass of cheese.
- The feta is often rubbed with salt, rinsed, and then cured in it's own whey.
2. How to Store Feta
Feta should be refrigerated in brine, which keeps it moist and fresh. Most, but not all, feta is sold in brine; either way, you want to have enough to submerge the cheese. You can make your own brine by mixing water with a little bit of salt. Adding milk to the brine helps cut the salty and sharp flavors of the cheese. Stored refrigerated in brine, some say the feta will keep for several months. But your best bet for fresh, good-tasting feta is to buy smaller amounts that you'll use within a few weeks.
3. Feta Appetizers
You can turn feta into a fabulous appetizer simply by drizzling it with a little olive oil and serving a loaf of bread and bowl of olives on the side. More involved feta appetizers include:
4. Feta Salads
Feta will add unbelievable flavor to any salad you make. A few really good feta salad recipes:
- Chopped Salad with Feta
- Israeli Couscous with Feta, Preserved Lemon and Mint
- Feta and Cucumber Salad
- Bulgur,Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Feta Dressing
- Cucumber and Garbanzo Bean Salad with Feta Dressing
- Butter Lettuce with Feta, Oranges and Olives
- Bulgur with Fresh Herbs and Feta
- Feta, Pea and Mint Salad