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What Is String Cheese? From Its Humble History To Freezing Tips!

String cheese is named after the appearance of the sticks of cheese after pulling them apart. Pulling the cheese down from one end to the other makes “strings” of cheese. 

There are two camps of people out there: those who pull their string cheese off into strings, and those who just bite into them. Which one are you?

String cheese is a processed food that you can buy in the refrigerated section of most grocery stores. It is kept cold like many other kinds of cheese.

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What is string cheese?

String cheese is basically a mozzarella cheese being heated to 140°F then stretched. 

Heating the cheese at this temperature makes the milk proteins significantly move and change. 

It’s then kneaded and cut into cylinders that can be pulled apart into string strands or strips. 

The texture and flavor profile of string cheese is chewy, rich, and milky with a bit of salt and acid in perfect harmony. 

The cheese is about six inches long and less than an inch in diameter.

Though the history of your favorite stringy cheese is complex and wide, it’s said that the first string cheese was most likely invented by Frank Baker of Baker Cheese in St. Cloud, Wisconsin, in the United States. 

According to theatlantic.com, Baker’s string cheese came to life in the mid-1970s after the company started getting requests from its consumers to create snack-size pieces of the hot white melted cheese, mozzarella. 

However, the idea of breading thin slices of cheese and frying it already existed in the late-1390s. 

It’s recorded in the food and cookery chapter of Le Ménagier de Paris, a Medieval French guidebook on a woman’s proper behavior in marriage, food preparations, and managing a household.

This cheese indulgence can be eaten on the spot or used as a key ingredient for cooking applications. 

You can place them on skewers alongside cherry tomatoes, use them to stuff meat or poultry, and wrap them with prosciutto for a quick appetizer. 

And of course, who can forget the breaded cheese sticks

As time passes by, string cheese is ever-evolving. 

In countries like Slovakia and Armenia, the lunchbox staple is sometimes seasoned with black cumin then being hand-pulled into strings and braided. 

The string cheese version (queso Oaxaca) of Mexico is formed into balls and pulled apart into thin strands. 

These strings are then put over a Mexican dish like quesadillas.

How is string cheese made?

As mentioned, string cheese is made by heating cheese curds (usually mozzarella) to 140°F, resulting in realigning milk proteins found in cheese. 

The cheese is stretched then kneaded and cut into cylinders.

What kind of cheese is string cheese?

The kind of cheese to create this easy, portable snack is mozzarella. This variety has a natural stringing quality perfect for string cheese-making. 

However, cheesemakers in the United States combine mozzarella, cheddar, and Colby Jack to create a different version of the cheese.

What does string cheese taste like?

If you’re wondering about string cheese’s flavor, it has a rich, milky taste with a bit of saltiness and acidity in perfect balance. 

On the other hand, string cheese has a nice textural nuance that isn’t too rubbery or chewy and melts fine when cooked.

Does string cheese go bad

Unfortunately, yes, string cheese goes bad just like all other cheeses. The major factor that affects the shelf life of your string cheese is the way you store it.  

When properly stored in the refrigerator, an unopened and commercially-made pack of string cheese maintains its peak quality for about a week past its date of expiry. 

You can also extend its shelf life up to 8 months in the freezer. 

In case you open the packet of the commercially-made string cheese, it’s best to transfer them in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for a week.

How to store string cheese

When you purchase string cheese in the grocery store, it can stay fresh for about a week past its date of expiry, only if you store it in the fridge. 

Also, it’s best not to open the package if it isn’t needed. If it’s already open, the next thing you should do is transfer it to an airtight container so that you can seal it tightly for a longer shelf life. 

Here are steps on how to store string cheese in your refrigerator:

  1. For an unopened packet of string cheese, leave it as is. 
  2. Put the package in the coldest part of the fridge. Make sure the temperature won’t fluctuate or drop. 
  3. If you happen to open the package, immediately place the cheese in the airtight container. 
  4. Cover it tightly and store it in the fridge.

How to eat string cheese

Avocados can be added to many recipes to give your meals a cheese-reminiscent satisfaction. 

And the best thing about string cheese is that it has endless possibilities–you can fry or even consume them raw!

You can cut and place them on skewers for Caprese salad skewers, use them to stuff meat or poultry, or wrap them with prosciutto for a quick appetizer. 

A popular pub-food favorite is mozzarella sticks, a deep-fried appetizer made from string cheese and coated in seasoned bread crumbs. 

They’re then fried until it reaches golden brown perfection. These creamy mozzarella sticks are often dunked into a marinara sauce, sundried tomato pesto, lemon aioli sauce, or garlic aioli.

If you’re as fond of the snack as I am, check out this essential guide featuring essential reheating tips and tricks.

How long can string cheese sit out?

According to the reports, leaving food too long at room temperature can cause bacteria growth, which may eventually result in illnesses. 

Moreover, it isn’t safe for any food to be kept for over two hours in the “Danger Zone,” which refers to the temperature range (between 40 °F and 140 °F) in which bacteria growth occurs most rapidly on food. 

So to answer the question of how long you can eat string cheese that was left unrefrigerated would be at least within two hours. 

After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

Can you melt string cheese?

Yes, you can melt string cheese. 

Typically, this delicious cheese melts at 90°F. 

The best way to evenly melt the cheese is to slice the string cheese into thin pieces.

Some cooks melt the cheese in the microwave at medium heat before laying them over crackers and chips. Or you can slice the cheese and put them on top of the food of your choice then…melt!

Can you freeze string cheese?

Yes, you can freeze string cheese. But remember that the longer it stays frozen, its texture won’t be as good as fresh string cheese. 

If you happen to freeze then thaw them, expect that your string cheese will become rubbery and crumbly. 

So for the best results, frozen string cheese should be consumed within 8 months of freezing. 

When freezing an unopened package of string cheese, simply place it directly in your freezer or you can transfer the cheese in a freezer bag. Just make sure to squeeze the air out before freezing the food.

The bottom line

String cheese is a good source of protein and makes for a handy, portable snack on the go. 

While it’s best to eat string cheese snacks in moderation, they are often a better alternative to sugary snacks for kids who can eat dairy. 

They are perfect finger foods when made into appetizers, on a cheese board, or just by themselves. 

Eating string cheese sticks is a fun way to play with your food and not get in trouble!

String Cheese Caprese Salad Skewers Recipe With Balsamic Glaze

String Cheese Caprese Salad Skewers Recipe With Balsamic Glaze

Yield: 8 skewers

Here’s your new easy, go-to appetizer for your next last-minute dinner party, Caprese Salad Skewers made with string cheese!

Ingredients

  • 16 red cherry tomatoes
  • 16 orange cherry tomatoes
  • 32 basil leaves
  • 16 string cheese sticks, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 c balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • Dash of sea salt
  • 8 wood or metal skewers

Instructions

  1. Wash and dry the tomatoes and basil leaves.
  2. Make the balsamic glaze: Add the vinegar to a saucepan. Turn the pan to medium-high heat and bring the vinegar to a boil, stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. Then turn the heat down to a simmer. Stir occasionally and cook until the balsamic is reduced by one-third.
  3. Thread a skewer starting with a red tomato. Next, fold a basil leaf in half and then thread it on the skewer. Add one piece of string cheese and another folded basil leaf. Finish off the skewer with an orange tomato. Assemble based on the length of your skewer and how many you are serving.
  4. Remove the balsamic glaze from the heat and allow it to cool.
  5. Place the assembled skewers on a serving plate or tray.
  6. Then drizzle the skewers with the balsamic glaze, salt and olive oil.
  7. Note: If you don’t have skewers on hand, you can also thread one basil leaf, one tomato and one piece of string cheese onto wooden toothpicks.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 372Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 387mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 7gSugar: 30gProtein: 16g

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