Monday, February 8, 2016

True Color Of Cheese...!

Che3ese as a food is kinda complicated.

Not only is it the wrong color, but it's true taste doesn't always come through. Surprise! How it achieves this can be explained in a fairly simple way.

Why Do We Like Our Cheese Such A Bright Orange?
By Debra Kelly on Sunday, January 31, 2016

In its natural form, most cheese is sort of a white color. It’s nothing like the bright orange we see today, and that’s not a new thing. High-quality grazing lands, cows, and milk once made high-quality cheese that was yellow-orange, but when cheesemakers started taking the beta-carotene-rich cream to make butter with, they lost the color that had been a mark of high quality. They started adding all sorts of dyes to make up for it. That was in the 17th century, and we’ve been including the food dyes and additives ever since.

Take a look at the majority of mass-produced cheese in many grocery stores today, and you’ll likely be struck by one thought: nothing natural could ever be that color. We’re fussy about our foods, and whether it’s a slab of weird rubber cheese or a slathering of nacho cheese, it’s pretty unnatural-looking if you bother to pay attention.

That’s nothing new. We’ve been doing weird things to the color of our cheese for centuries.

It all started with high-class cheese. When the best cheese was made in pre-17th-century England, it came from Guernsey and Jersey cows that were native to a particular area in England. For around 500 years, all the best cheese came out of the village of Cheddar in Somerset. (Yes, really.) And that kind of fame means that their product sets the standard.

The grasses that Somerset cows grazed on was known for its high beta-carotene content, which was passed on to the cows’ milk. That gives the final product a sort of mildly yellowish-orange color. That’s how you knew your cheese was the good stuff.

By the time the 1800s hit, cheesemakers were learning how to stretch their raw materials a little farther. If they took off the cream, they could use it to make butter.

That also took away the color that people had become so used to. The cream is where the color is.

Cheese became white, and people don’t like those kinds of sudden changes in their favorite foods. So in the 17th century, cheesemakers started something that’s continued today.

They started adding things like marigold, carrot juice, and saffron to their cheese in order to keep it the same color. Finally, they settled on a food dye called annatto, which was taken from the seeds of the achiote plant.

It has a long history, and it’s a South American native that was even used by the Mayans to change the color of their food.

It’s claimed to have some health benefits, too, like lowering blood pressure, but it’s also been claimed that it can cause some major digestive issues and aggravate irritable bowel syndrome.

Annatto showed up most noticeably in Leicestershire cheese, and it’s still one of the most distinctively colored cheeses, bright red because of the annatto.

People took their cheese seriously in England, and as early as the 1750s there were standards that cheesemakers were held to. These standards weren’t just locked away in some government office to be read only by the upper class or the literate, either.

They were spread by word of mouth and by official town criers who made sure everyone knew about the standards required and the punishments that would be handed out to anyone who sold low-quality cheese.

Guess you could say that there is more to cheese than we originally thought. Nothing is ever simple, is it?

Coffee out on the patio this morning. That OK with you?


Chickenmom said...

Never knew that, Mr. Hermit! There are farms here that makes cheese - all types and it is really wonderful (but expensive). And worth it!

linda m said...

I would love coffee on the patio as I have to shovel again this morning. Wow, that is some interesting facts about cheese that I did not know. Always wondered why swiss chefs was white and cheddar yellow/orange. Thanks for enlightening me on this subject.

JO said...

Glad that was cleared up. As long as they keep the Italian cheese's white I'm good. lol
I try to read the labels on things and see what is in the making but sometimes you just don't think about some of it.

Patio sounds good this morning I am late starting as I was up for a few hours last night.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I love cheese and usually have some sort of cheese almost every day. Of course at my age I am a little cheesy, at least some of my jokes are. . .

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
Always glad to share a new bit of knowledge. Usually a little bit is all I have!
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Linda...
Like most folks, I love matter what the color is. Good to know the difference, I reckon.
Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Jo...
Better watch that partying, girl! You still like that Italian cheese? Figured you migtt have switched to cheddar by now.
Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by today!

Hey Dizzy...
Like you, I really like the stuff. Always have some if I can.
Cheesy jokes never bothered me much!
Thanks for coming over today!