These are the TOP 5 Reasons Why You Should Grate Your Own Cheese! Turns out, there are some surprising reasons why you should grate your own cheese by hand.
TOP 5 Reasons Why You Should Grate Your Own Cheese
What is the difference between pre grated cheese and cheese by the block?
1. Hand Grated Cheese is Fresher
The answer is simple: freshness in the final product! Pre-shredded cheese certainly is convenient, but it's not worth the final result.
Pre-grated cheese contains preservatives like potato starch and natamycin, meant to keep the shreds from clumping together in the bag. That also means they don't melt together as well when cooking.
Freshly grated cheese lacks those additives so your Authentic Italian Pasta Carbonara (no cream) and Restaurant Style Italian Cacio e Pepe (Best Tips) will turn out less clumpy and more smooth.
Have you ever added pre shredded cheese to a recipe and it turns into a clumpy mess? This could be part of the problem.
2. Freshly Grated Cheese Melts Better
Pre-grated cheese contains preservatives like potato starch and natamycin, meant to keep the shreds from clumping together in the bag. That means the cheese won't melt well when used for cooking.
Freshly grated cheese does not contain those additives, so your recipes will turn out less clumpy and much smoother.
Do you see the smooth and velvety texture of this Baked Ham and Cheese Pasta (with White Sauce) (above) or this Easy Creamy Saffron Sauce with Pasta(below)?
I used freshly grated cheese to ensure the cheese would melt into the cream properly to create a luxurious sauce that coats the pasta like a dream.
3) Grating your Own Cheese Saves Money
By grating your own cheese from a fresh block you save money. It is more expensive to buy pre shredded cheese because you pay for someone to do the labor for you. Minimal time with maximum benefits. Enough said.
4) No Chemicals in Freshly Grated Cheese
Since freshly grated cheese doesn’t contain added preservatives and chemicals and since you’re shredding it on the spot, it will have a fresher, creamier taste.
Fewer additives is always a healthier option.
Maybe you'll have to do your own taste test but considering the powdery texture of wood pulp coating the outside of grated cheese, I think you'll agree.
5) Grating your Own Cheese Gives More Options
Pre-shredded cheese just tends to come in only a few options. We all know the top cheese variation options: Mexican Blend, Colby Jack, Mozzarella, Swiss, etc.
What about all the other 1,000 other cheese options? Think of all the delicious cheese you miss every year by only grabbing what is in the pre shredded package.
Notes on REAL Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese
When Parmigiano Reggiano is in its traditional whole form, or cut into slices with its crust, the original product is easily recognizable.
The crust, or any part of it, must clearly show the dots that spell out Parmigiano Reggiano. This is in fact a mark of origin that is marked on the form when it is made.
Europe Regulations on Parmigiano Cheese
Within Europe, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese is a PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) product, meaning that, since 2008, only cheeses that comply with a strict set of rules can be sold as “Parmigiano-Reggiano PDO” or “Parmesan.”
Like another familiar controlled-origin product, Champagne, in order to qualify it has to be produced within a specific and limited geographic area (which includes the provinces of Parma, Reggio-Emilia, Modena, Mantua, and Bologna) and it needs to be made following a specific process, using genuine raw ingredients that also come from the designated area of origin.
U.S.A Regulations on Parmigiano Cheese
Within the U.S., however, there’s no such regulation, so anything can be sold as “Parmesan,” no matter where or how it’s made — and even if it doesn’t contain any Parmesan cheese at all. In 2012, the FDA investigated a cheese factory in Pennsylvania and found that the cheese it was selling as “100% grated parmesan” was actually cut with fillers like wood pulp and contained exactly 0% real Parmesan cheese, using instead cheaper varieties like Swiss and cheddar.
That particular producer was busted and heavily fined due to a tip-off from a former employee, but similar practices are still widespread.
The Difference Between Parmigiano and Parmesan Cheese
For a cheese to be classified as Parmigiano-Reggiano, it must come from particular regions of Italy and contain only certain approved ingredients.
Parmigiano-Reggiano is also aged at least one year and up to three years. Parmesan, on the other hand, is not regulated, and may be aged as little as 10 months.
Products for Grating and Storing
I value my time! Here are some tips on how to store hand shredded cheese at home.
After I grate my parmigiano cheese I store it in an airtight container. The cheese lasts up to one month. Soft cheeses, such as mozzarella, will only last a couple of weeks).
I buy a big block of Parmiggiano Reggiano (Costco has the best deal for the certified brand).
Use a high quality cheese grater. I like to use rotary (hand held with a turning handle) for grating hard cheese.
These are 2 Cheese Graters I recommend for cheeses such as parmigiano and pecorino. They also work with soft cheeses such as mozzarella and cheddar:
1- Professional Grade Rotatary Grater
2- Commercial Stainless Steel Rotary Cheese Grater
You can also use a microplane for adding fresh parmigiano at the end of your final dish.
This is the air tight container I recommend for storing parmigiano and other hard cheeses:
1- TightPac America canister I keep this in the fridge. The cheese is good for at least a month. It usually doesn't last that long in our house since we use parmigiano on everything!
2- Regular Mouth Glass Mason Jars, 16 Ounce (5 Pack) Glass Canning Jars
3- Shredded cheese freezes really well, especially in these reusable bags: Stasher 100% Silicone Food Grade Reusable Storage Bag
You can freeze Parmesan or Parmigiano cheese in an airtight container or freezer bag. Shredded Parm cheese can last for three to six months.
A solid wedge of parmigiano or parmesan cheese will stay in the freezer for over a year as long as it is tightly wrapped and stored in a freezer bag or airtight container.
Fresh mozzarella cheese or burrata cheese will keep refrigerated for five days. Shredded mozzarella also lasts about five days after it is shredded from the block. A block of mozzarella cheese (not shredded) has a 21-day refrigerator shelf life once opened, and smoked mozzarella will keep for 28 days.
Read about Different Types of Mozzarella.
Blocks of mozzarella or shredded mozzarella are fine to freeze for a few months as long as they are properly wrapped and sealed. They do tend to have a crumbly texture after freezing. Avoid freezing fresh mozzarella! The high water content will form ice crystals and make it mushy when defrosted.
Read about Mozzarella.
Grating Your Own Cheese is A SMALL Step that make a BIG Difference.
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Made with Amore, Elena
From my Cucina to your Table, Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)
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Cheese and Broccoli Pasta Bake with White Sauce
Pumpkin and Parmigiano Pasta with Toasted Pine Nuts
Arugula, Apple, and Pistachio Salad in Parmigiano Cups
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