Cream cheese is a fresh cheese that is not aged. It is an American invention that was developed in 1872 in New York state.
What is cream cheese
Cream cheese is unripened and some of them contain emulsifiers that give them a firmness and lengthen shelf-life. Standard cream cheese must contain at least 33 percent fat and no more than 55% water, although now there are low-fat and non-fat varieties available.
Cream cheese is categorized as a fresh cheese since it is not aged. As a result, it should be used up at the earliest once opened. Its flavour is mild, tastes freshand sweet, but also has a pleasing slight tang. Nowadays, flavoured versions are available, like those with herbs, fruits, and even salmon.
Cream cheese is quite versatile and can be used in the making of cheesecake, frosting, bagel-toppers and dips. It can also be used to make light and flaky pastry crusts. Along with these more well-known uses, cream cheese is a main ingredient in many savoury dishes as well as desserts.
How to use cream cheese
If you want to soften cream cheese in order to mix with other ingredients, remove the foil packaging and place it in a micro-safe plate and cook on 50% powder for one minute, rest for one minute and use.
But if you want to use it for table use, remove the foil, place it on a micro-safe plate and cook on high for 5 to 15 seconds.
To make a quick party dip, let cream cheese come to room temperature, mix with salsa or vegetables or fruits and serve with savoury crackers, or vegetable crudités, fruits or cookies.
How to store cream cheese
Cream cheese like any other fresh cheese is highly perishable. Which is why it should always be kept refrigerated.This is one cheese which should not be allowed to age. So, when you are buying cream cheese carefully check the expiry date and buy only the freshest one. The fresher the cheese, the better the flavour.
However, these days advanced techniques allow cream cheese to be preserved in the refrigerator upto six months.
But remember if mould forms on the cream cheese just discard it because it is not safe for human consumption.
Freezing of cream cheese is not recommended. The cheese suffers a drastic change in texture when thawed.
How nutritious is it
Cream cheese is nutritious and you can safely start your day on a cheesy note. Have it with your bagels or muffins or even sandwiches. It will not only enhance flavour and texture, it will add to the nutrition. Apart from being a rich source of fat and cholesterol, it also contains adequate amounts of carbohydrates and proteins. It also contains tiny amounts of vitamins and minerals, which are required for proper growth and maintenance of the body.