With fruit in the morning or as a midday, protein-filled snack, cottage cheese should be a staple in everyone's kitchen. Not only is it an easy way to add more calcium to your diet, it's also a great ingredient to have on-hand for use in a variety of recipes. You can buy organic cottage cheese in many supermarkets, but it's easy to make it yourself with just four ingredients... it doesn't get more natural than that.
What You'll Need?
Most of the ingredients for cottage cheese are things you probably already have on-hand. I always keep white vinegar around; it's a great natural cleaner for kettles, coffee pots and countertops. Aside from white vinegar, you'll need kosher salt, organic milk and organic half-and-half: 1 gallon of milk and a half cup of half-and-half will give you about 2 cups of cottage cheese.
In a large saucepan with a lid, slowly bring 1 gallon organic milk up to 120 degrees F. Remove from heat and pour in 1 cup white vinegar. Slowly stir until the curd and whey begin to separate, about 2-3 minutes. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Line a colander with cheesecloth and pour the mixture through it. (Don't discard the whey: it can be used to make homemade ricotta cheese!)
Gather the curd up in the cheesecloth and rinse under cold water, gently squeezing and moving the mixture under the running stream for about 3 minutes, or until it has completely cooled. Squeeze dry and transfer to a bowl. Use a fork to break into pieces (large curd or small curd, the choice is yours!). Add the salt and stir to combine.
Store the curd and 1/2 cup half-and-half separately, and combine just before serving. The curd will keep in the fridge for a week; if you don't use it all by then, dry it overnight by placing it in cheesecloth over a bowl in the fridge. Then slice the dried curd and use as you would cheese curd.
What Do I Do with It?
The choices are endless! Not only does homemade cottage cheese make a delicious and filling breakfast served with fruit, but it also makes a great snack. I love it with freshly snipped chives from the herb garden.
You can also use your homemade cottage cheese as an ingredient in hundreds of recipes. Here are just a few to get you started:
image: Megan Schuirmann