There are many uses of ricotta cheese and that is why you might want to keep leftover for use in another recipe.
What is ricotta cheese? Ricotta is a mild-tasting cheese known to have a thick texture and a creamy flavor. Its mild flavor and low level of salt component make it an excellent choice for use in both sweet and savory meals. Also, it can be dried in the oven or air-cured to produce a cheese that is firmer and more sharp-tasting, which can then be grated.
So, how long will ricotta cheese last?
Frozen ricotta cheese is safe to use and will last 2-3 months. However, if your recipe requires that you use fresh ricotta cheese, it is best never to use frozen and then thawed one.
How Long Will Ricotta Cheese Last?
Ricotta cheese will last 7-14 days after being opened. After opening it, use the leftover within one week. Toss it away if you can’t remember how long it has been on your freezer.
Ricotta cheese, just like other types of cheese can spoil easily and needs to be kept covered and refrigerated at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower temperatures to prevent spoilage.
When working with ricotta, take your clean spoon and scoop out an ideal portion you need. Cover the container and place it in the refrigerator as soon as possible. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, even with meticulous in storage and packaging, an unsealed box of ricotta will only last 7-14 days after being opened. If you want to stay safe regarding cheese spoilage, don’t leave ricotta cheese in the fridge for over 14 days after you’ve opened it.
You should toss the ricotta if you can’t remember the exact date you bought and opened it.
Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese?
Yes, you can freeze ricotta cheese because the moisture inside it will form ice crystals just like other cheeses, leading to preservation for about 2 months. Frozen ricotta cheese can be thawed and is safe to use but its overall texture could become dry and crumbly. So, freezing it happens rather so well almost all the time.
Even while some liquid will separate and float to the surface, the overall texture will remain relatively unchanged.
Is frozen Ricotta Cheese Still Worth It?
Yes, frozen and thawed ricotta is still awesome for use in baked and cooked foods, and it is acceptable in most other applications, including eating it straight from the spoon.
That’s basically the gist of it. This is something we’ll go into in more detail later.
What impressive about freezing ricotta cheese is that like any other natural cheese, ricotta can be safely frozen to keep it fresh longer and extend shelf life. Another important information is that the taste will not change once it has been frozen. On the sad part, freezing ricotta will almost certainly change the texture of the cheese.
Why is Freezing Ricotta Cheese a Problem?
Due to the fact that Ricotta is a soft cheese with a high moisture content, freezing it causes it to become icy and difficult to work with. Because they destroy the natural structure of the ricotta cheese, frozen crystals are the primary perpetrators for the texture change that occurs when the cheese is thawed.
Therefore, there will be noticeable separation of whey and curds. This will make the cheese begin to crumble and become much drier than it was when it was frozen in the first place.
Although stirring it while it thaws will help to restore some of its original flavor and texture, it will never be precisely the same as it was before you froze it.
Since you will most likely notice a change in texture of Ricotta cheese, rather than using it in that state, or as the primary ingredient, try masking its crumbly texture by using the cheese solely as a side ingredient in any of your favorite ricotta-infused dishes instead of as the main element.
An important thing to note is that there is nothing particularly noteworthy about the 3-month mark, and the ricotta will not be significantly poorer if it is left in the freezer for an additional week or month. Rather, it serves as a reminder that storing food for months at a time is not recommended.
My experience has shown me that the longer I keep food in freezer, the less likely I am to thaw it and use it as intended.
Of course, this will lead to your freeze constantly overflowing with food.
How to Freeze Ricotta Cheese
- Begin by preparing the cheese. If there is any liquid left in the container, strain it by placing the cheese on a paper towel. Let it stay for a while then if necessary, cut it into multiple portions.
- Place the ricotta into a freeze bag or if you have an airtight container, use it.
- Make sure the freezer bags/airtight containers do not have any holes that could allow in air. I normally pick containers because they are much easier to clean (for example, I hate the process of washing freezer bags).
- If you find it handy, you can name it so that you know that it is cheese that’s inside and how long it’s been sitting in the freezer for.
- Proceed to transfer your ricotta cheese into the freezer. Use rapid freezing to obtain better result.
Sargento claims that their ricotta can be frozen for up to two months, but I’m very confident that ricotta (in general) will keep well for considerably longer than that, perhaps up to six months.
Why Should You Freezing Dishes That Include Ricotta?
Interestingly, you may use ricotta cheese in making other recipes and then freezing the dish instead of just going straight to freeze the cheese itself.
Not sure about you, but I will often prepare my lasagna and freeze it only to grab a portion of frozen meal whenever I need it. Grabbing ricotta out of the freeze, defrosting it, and then using it to prepare from scratch every time seems hectic to me.
But everyone has their preference. You can do what sounds easy for you.
For those of you who find that your frozen ingredients tend to stay in your freezer longer than usual because you’re never in the mood to defrost and make something, freezing a cooked ready-to-eat food may be the answer.
Different Opinions from Ricotta Cheese Makers
Even those who make ricotta are divided on whether or not to people should freeze the cheese.
Although most cheesemakers do not recommend freezing any of their cheese, there are a handful out there that claim that their ricotta can be frozen.
When it comes to freezing ricotta cheese, here is what Sargento has to say:
You can freeze Sargento ricotta cheese for 2 months, but its texture could change significantly as a result of the freezing process.
While proceeding with freezing cheese, it is critical to examine both the cheese’s properties as well as what happens in the freezer.
During freezing, the moisture in the cheese solidifies into tiny ice crystals. This results in frozen ricotta cheese that tastes identical to fresh ricotta cheese, but it is a little dryer and crumblier.
However, don’t let this deter you from storing ricotta cheese in the freezer. This versatile cheese is far too delicious to be squandered on the shelf.
Ricotta that has been thawed is absolutely acceptable in dishes such as Italian Pie, Ricotta Cavatelli, and Eggplant Involtini.
When it comes to recipes where it is the star, such as Sweet Ricotta recipe or Cannoli Cake recipe, frozen Ricotta cheese is not the ideal option to go for.
Tips for Freezing Ricotta Cheese
The entire process takes no more than a couple of minutes, so there are no apparent reason why you shouldn’t do it. Simply grab the cheese and get to work; you’ll be finished just as soon as you start.
- First and foremost, pay close attention to the expiration date printed on the ricotta cheese. It is preferable to freeze fresh cheese. Do not wait for it to near its expiration to freeze it.
- Ricotta cheese should be frozen in its original container if it has not been opened. But if you aren’t planning on using the entire batch after it is thawed, cut it into pieces before freezing it.
- It is important to drain any extra liquid and wrap it extremely tightly in plastic before placing it in a heavy-duty zip-lock bag or an airtight container.
- For optimal results, avoid freezing your ricotta cheese for more than two months at a time and ensure you adhere to the thawing instructions I highlight here.
Keep in mind that after thawing ricotta, it will definitely have a different texture and will mainly be good for use in cooked recipes.