Ricotta cheese is one of those diet-friendly cheeses that are low on fats and high on nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin B12, riboflavin, and calcium. It’s also known for being one of lasagna’s main ingredients. But it can also be added to other delicious recipes. It’s confused sometimes with cottage cheese and those two can be used interchangeably in most dishes. But ricotta ultimately has the upper hand when it comes to scarcity, price, and taste. To save money, you intend to purchase a monthly provision of ricotta cheese at a bargain price. And these questions start coming to your mind. Can you freeze ricotta cheese? How long do ricotta cheese last in the fridge?
Well, you can. However, if you ask me, I’d prefer not to. Ricotta is known to be very “watery”, and water turns to ice when frozen (I know, I’m captain obvious!). This means that the ricotta will very likely lose a lot of its original consistency. Still, that ricotta can be recycled for cooked dishes. If you plan on using previously frozen ricotta in uncooked dishes such as salads , then it will probably not bode well for your taste. But it can still be eaten, technically speaking.
To freeze it, you should first make sure to remove any excess moisture from the cheese. You can use a paper towel or a strainer for that. Then, pack it into an airtight bag or container and store it in the freezer.
For convenience purposes, you can slice the cheese into various portions and pack them in separate containers. That way, you don’t have to take the whole chunk of ricotta out of the freezer and go through the strenuous task of separating the needed portion for that day.
Make sure that no air is left inside the container or that no air is able to get into the pack, otherwise the cheese will be exposed to freezer burns that will compromise its overall quality (or what’s left of it).
As stated earlier, freezing will definitely affect the taste and texture in a bad way, as the moisture turns into ice and separates from the cheese, thus producing a very uneven appearance and feel. It will not spoil, though, so it will be safe to eat as long as it was not stored beyond its expiration date.
Considering that freezing it a first time is not recommended, refreezing is simply not a choice! After thawing, it should be consumed within 2 days maximum.
An opened pack of ricotta cheese will be able to endure 1 or 2 weeks of fridge time without spoiling, at a temperature of 40º F or lower.
In the freezer, at 0º F or below, it will last indefinitely, but it’s recommended to consume within the first 3 months of freezing.
In order to preserve most of its original texture, thawing it in the fridge is virtually the “official” way to thaw it correctly. Try not to leave it in the fridge for more than 6 or 8 hours, though, since the texture starts getting “funkier” with each extra minute. After thawing, stir up the cheese with a spoon to achieve an acceptable consistency.
If you are under time constraints, you could submerge the cheese pack in a bowl with cold water and place the bowl in the fridge. As water is better at conducting heat than air, the defrosting time shortens considerably.
To cook a recipe using frozen ricotta cheese on the stove, add it to the food and start stirring until a water layer appears on the top. Next, drain the water and keep stirring the cheese with a spoon until it mixes with the other ingredients and the meal achieves a consistent appearance.
Nevertheless, it’s always advisable to thaw the cheese before using it. As asserted above, when you freeze ricotta, the moisture that separates from the cheese turns into ice and, as that ice melts, it will definitely render the dish soggy and unpleasant. Thawing it in the fridge allows the cheese to absorb some of the moisture it initially lost.