But, I don’t love sawdust or flour or corn starch or any other additive in my cheese, but that is exactly what I get when I buy shredded cheese in the store.
Have you ever noticed how shredded cheese from the store is so dry? Have you ever wondered why? It was interesting to me when we realized that my son was allergic to packaged shredded cheese, but not the cheese we shredded at home. That sent me on a journey to find out why. I was amazed to find in my research that potato or corn starch or wood pulp or sawdust, are added to the cheese so it won’t stick and each shred will remain an individual little shred. No thank you! When you look at a package of shredded cheese, you won’t see “wood pulp” on the ingredient list, but you might find the word cellulose. Cellulose is simply wood pulp. Cellulose is cheaper than potato or corn starch and that is one reason it is used in shredded cheese. Cellulose gel or cellulose gum is often added to low and no fat dairy products like yogurt, sour cream, and ice cream to give that creamy texture that is missing due to the lack of cream in those products. Cellulose is used in shredded cheese as filler, to lower fat content, and to increase fiber. Anyone want a little tree with their cheese?
So, stepping away from my rant, there are several things I do in my kitchen to make meal time easier and shredding up cheese ahead of time tops the list. This saves tons of time and money! When I did the price analysis on it, I found that I can buy big blocks of high quality cheese and shred it for less than it costs to buy the extra large packages of shredded cheese.
My all time favorite cheese is Tillamook cheddar. I grew up in the beautiful pacific northwest, which is home to gorgeous mountains, the incredible ocean, and Tillamook cheese! Several years ago, our family was in Oregon and we visited the Tillamook cheese factory. It was so much fun! We watched them make and package the cheese. It was fascinating. Then we went to the gift shop and taste-tested all kinds of amazing cheeses. The children loved it as did Jason and I.
I was thrilled when Sam’s Club and Costco started carrying the big blocks of Tillamook. I no longer had to buy blocks of cheese and carry them back on the airplane. (True story!) I am sort of devoted to my Tillamook like southern states are devoted to Blue Bell. No… that’s not exactly true… I have never stood in a grocery store and lamented the fact and shed a tear with strangers that there was a lack of Tillamook.
Nevertheless, I do love my Tillamook cheese and it thrilled me to no end that my son could eat it. We started shredding blocks of it and storing it in the freezer. The freezer can dry out cheese a little bit and make it crumbly, but I am okay with my shredded cheese being crumbly. 😉
When the current bag of cheese is getting low, I just grab another one from the freezer and throw it in the fridge to defrost. Then it is ready to go when I need it.
I package it in quart size freezer ziplock bags. If my children see a gallon zip lock bag of cheese they think it’s a license to eat as much as they want and they will polish off the entire thing in one sitting if I let them! I have found that packing food in smaller packages works well for our family.
If I have a lot of cheese to shred, I use my Bosch and the shredder attachment. It makes short work of a block of cheese and I can choose if I want it finely shredded or medium shredded. For shredding smaller quantities, and/or “on demand” emergency shredding, I use my husband! 🙂
I love having the tools (or the husband) that make my kitchen tasks easier!