Cheese pickle is a condiment which is prepared by the process of brining. The feta cheese is often known as a pickled cheese which is cured by storing it in salty whey or brine. The flavor becomes sharper with the cheese acquiring a saline taste. It is ideally served with salads and is highly popular as a snack item that goes well with alcoholic beverages.
The brining process is used for ripening the cheese which loses calcium from its surface and allows water to seep in, swelling up in the process. The rind of the cheese rots frequently which is prevented by adding the compound, calcium chloride to the brining solution.
The pickled form of cheese usually lesser in weight than the fresh ones. The process is considered to be an ideal way of preserving cheeses in hot climates as they inhibit bacterial growth.
The varieties of cheeses that are pickled vary in consistency and color along with the flavor. However, most of the white cheeses are usually pickled before consumption. Telemea, sirene and halloumi are varieties of pickled cheeses that are popular apart from the Greek feta cheese. The pickled cheeses are eaten in the Middle East and Mediterranean region generally.
Cheese Pickle Recipe: Ingredients and Preparation Overview
Brining or pickling of the cheese is carried out in commercial brining vats by the dairies and other cheese making companies. The home made cheese is also pickled easily enough by keeping it dipped in salt water with a small amount of calcium chloride compound added to it. White vinegar helps in adjusting the pH of the solution which requires to be between 5.4 -5.9.
Most homemakers keep lemon juice or citric acid handy to increase the acidity of the solution slightly in order to get a sharper tasting cheese. The cheese pieces are submerged completely in the liquid and kept within it for some time. An hour of brining is recommended for a pound of the cheese. The timing is calculated accordingly. The Parma cheese is denser and needs additional time for being pickled properly.
Cheese Pickle: Serving Suggestions
- Milk Soup- The Bulgarian dish prepared with milk, butter and eggs is served with crumbled brined cheese.
- Salads & Wine- Pickled feta cheese is served as a garnish on zesty salads and can be paired with the light Greek wine called Beaujolais.
- Knafeh- The Middle Eastern pickled cheese is one of the main ingredients of this Palestinian dessert.
The Greek Cheese pickle, Feta had been mentioned in the epic ‘Odyssey’ written by Homer.