Thoughts About the Best Feta Cheese and Storing It Properly
I received an interesting request via our WBSM app chat, which allows the listener to write the host in real time.
"Hi Phil, the wife wants to know the best store brand feta to buy and where," Dennis from New Bedford wrote in.
The first thing I need to say is that Greeks, who are the highest consumers of cheese in the world, know their beans about cheese. You can blame feta for average Greeks to consume 50-65 pounds of cheese annually.
The name "feta" has actually been in use since the 17th century, when Greece was under Venetian influence.
As for Dennis's question, the simplest answer is make sure the feta is made from at least 70 percent sheep's milk, and that it's made in Greece. That's the best advice.
Of course, there are some premium brands of imported feta – one being Dodoni – that I've purchased at Market Basket.
Feta made from sheep's milk tends to be the sharpest, while goat's and cow's milk feta is much milder. The tangy, salty taste and crumbly texture is an exquisite ingredient when combined with tomatoes, cucumbers, red bell peppers, red onions, kalamata olives, lettuce and a pinch of dried oregano and pepper flakes.
Keeping feta fresh after you've opened the package is easy. Once you open the package of feta, it should be immersed in a salty brine – that's so easy to make, and very important to keep the cheese tastier while extending its shelf life.
Make the brine by boiling one cup of water and one cup regular milk with two teaspoons of kosher salt. If need be, double or triple the amount of those ingredients. Set the brine aside to cool off completely. Never soak feta in brine that's even a little warm.
I like to cut the feta into cubes, while others like to keep it in a solid block, and place it in a plastic container with a cover. Be sure all the cheese is totally submerged in the cooled brine. Seal the container and enjoy delicious feta for three to four weeks refrigerated. Feta that's sold without brine lasts only days.
If you're on a low-sodium diet, here's another Greek way to properly store feta cheese. Generously, pour extra virgin olive oil, totally immersing it like a submarine. You can add herbs like thyme or oregano and sliced fresh garlic. When you use up all the cheese in the marinade, you can use the remaining olive oil as a dressing on salads.
Bon appétit, Dennis. I hope this was helpful for your wife.