Kitchen Q&A

Determining the freshness of cottage cheese


The Charlotte Observer

Q. How long will cottage cheese keep in the refrigerator? Shall I discard after the expiration date? Can I freeze it?

A. The date on your container of cottage cheese is probably a sell-by date. It’s so the store will know how long something has been on the shelf (and for you to use when you rummage around to try to get one from the back of the shelf).

It’s hard to give an exact amount of time cottage cheese would last in a home refrigerator because there are so many variables, such as how cold you keep your refrigerator and how often you open and close the door, which affects temperature. If the cottage cheese has no sign of mold and it smells OK, it’s probably fine.

While harder cheeses, like Parmesan and Cheddar, can be frozen, softer ones like cottage cheese and cream cheese don’t freeze well. They get gummy or watery after thawing them.

Q. In a recent question on cutting lettuce, you mentioned that we don't have to wipe mushrooms one by one. Could you elaborate? I thought we weren't supposed to put mushrooms in water.

The old kitchen legend that mushrooms absorb water has been disproven. Yes, if you put them in a bowl of water for hours, they'd probably get waterlogged, but so will anything else.

Tests generally show that mushrooms are no more likely to absorb water than any other vegetable.

There's no reason you can't wash mushrooms under running water and then toss them or pat them dry.

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