What Are Cheese Curds National Cheese Curd Day - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures What Are Cheese Curds National Cheese Curd Day
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FOOD HOLIDAY: Have Cheese Curds On Squeaky Cheese Day

Tillamook, one of the country’s greatest producers of Cheddar cheese, has declared today “Squeaky Cheese Day.” For those who haven’t had the pleasure, squeaky cheese refers to cheese curds, small Cheddar nuggets so fresh that they squeak when you eat them.

Cheese curds are one of our favorite fun foods. In Wisconsin, where the many cheese factories produce a steady supply of cheese curds, they’re the bar food of choice and on the menu of almost every eatery, plain or flavored.

The reason is that they only squeak when they’re fresh.

Because of the short shelf life of cheese curds, they have traditionally been sold only at the cheese factory and by local distributors.

But thanks to vacuum-packaging for wider distribution, you may now find them at your own cheese store or can order them online.

> National Cheese Curd Day is October 14th.

> The history of cheese.

> The history of Cheddar cheese.

> The different types of cheese: a glossary.

Cheese curds are the fresh curds created in the production of Cheddar cheese. As milk is converted to cheese, it produces the solid curds and the liquid whey.

Cheese curds form in random shapes: large nuggets the size of unshelled peanuts, with a texture something like mozzarella.

To make Cheddar, the whey is drained off and the curds are pressed together in molds to form the cheese.

But cheese makers can remove the curds and sell them as a special treat.

Typically, you need to go to a Cheddar cheese factory to get curds, since they should be enjoyed the day they are made.

But we’ve ordered them online and found them to be just as yummy a few days later.

As the curds age, they lose their squeak, but not their deliciousness.

The flavor is mild, like mozzarella, but saltier; and while the majority of curds are sold plain, the flavored varieties are delicious.

We’ve bought everything from dill to jalapeño, and if you only have plain cheese curds, you can mix in your favorite flavor (herbs, chile flakes, etc.).

The squeak you hear when you munch on cheese curds comes from the protein composition of fresh curds.

When the protein in the cheese rubs against the enamel of one’s teeth, it makes a squeaky sound.

As the curds age, moisture evaporates and the protein in the cheese consolidates. That’s why regular Cheddar cheese, and curds older than a few days, don’t squeak.

Cheese curds will remain moist and tasty for a few days and then start to dry out—which may be why Wisconsinites like to deep-fry them and serve them with ranch dressing. (Here’s a recipe for fried cheese curds.)

Cheese curds are ideally eaten the day they are made. After 24 hours they lose their squeak. And that’s why curds are not well known outside of areas where cheese is made.

But these days, vacuum packaging helps to preserve them just fine.

You can flavor plain cheese curds as you like. Pesto is an easy and delicious flavor agent.

  • As hors d’oeuvre, with toothpicks or on skewers
  • As a side, at breakfast with eggs; at lunch with sandwiches and burgers
  • As part of a salade composée
  • As grilled (or microwaved) cheese—especially popular in toasted pita—with fresh tomato
  • Atop pizza, instead of mozzarella
  • Atop fettuccine, with flavored curds (we first warmed pesto curds for 10 seconds in the microwave, which created a new fusion comfort food we really like)
  • On crusty bread or toast, with added pesto
  • And in all cases, tossed with some freshly-snipped basil leaves
    In Quebec, perhaps the other North American cheese curd capital, the curds mixed with French fries and gravy to create the beloved French-Canadian snack, poutine. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.


    [1] A perfect snack: cheese curds beer (photo © Wisconsin Cheese).

    A Bowl Of Cheese Curds
    [2] A bowl of squeaky cheese curds (photos #2 and #5 © Murray’s Cheese).

    [3eese curds in dill and jalapeño flavors (photo © Keystone Farms Cheese).

    A bowl of cheese curds in gravy.
    [4] Cheese curds and gravy (photo © Good Eats | Unsplash).

    A dish of cheese curds Buffalo style with celery and blue cheese dressing.
    [5] “Buffalo” cheese curds with spicy sauce, celery, and blue cheese dressing.





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