I'm a fairly recent convert to feta cheese; it's been a kitchen staple for only the last 5 years or so. Prior to that I bought it for snacks – the kind that comes in glass jars and is covered in herbs and olive oil.
Now I buy proper, brebis (sheep's milk) feta, that comes in a little tub.
Normally, we eat the entire package within a week or so, and it easily lasts that long in the fridge. But, the other week I, er, misplaced the last bit in the back of the fridge. By the time it was discovered it was, well, off.
I decided that, just perhaps, there was a better way of storing feta cheese then in a partially opened container….
Turns out, I was right.
I thought I would share my findings….
Feta is a salty, brined cheese, vital to the cooking of Greece and popular all around the Mediterranean.
According to Wiki: "Since 2002, feta has been a protected designation of origin product. According to the relevant EU legislation, only those cheeses produced in a traditional way in some areas of Greece (mainland and the island of Lesbos), and made from sheep milk, or from a mixture of sheep and goats’ milk (up to 30%) of the same area, may bear the name "feta"
It goes on to say that feta is often sold in brine, and, if stored in brine will keep well in the fridge for up to 3 months.
The feta I buy has only a minuscule amount of brine in it, so unless I make brine, that's not an option.
Another site suggests storing it covered in a milk 'bath' – but warns that milk can reduce the saltiness…. Not necessarily a bad thing. The mixture is half milk / half water.
It can be wrapped in paper, then in film or a plastic food bag.
One site says to never freeze; another yes to freeze but then only use in cooking.
My preference is to cover in olive oil…. It preserves the feta and the oil is wonderful for using in a vinaigrette.
Or for stir-frying vegetables.
I will freely admit that the biggest problem I have with feta (usually) is a tendency to want to put it in everything.
It goes so beautifully with greens.
Chard, or Swiss Chard, is a slightly bitter green, reminiscent of spinach. Mine is 'Rainbow Chard', thus all the colors. We added feta and Greek olives for a Mediterranean flavor.
7oz (200gr) chard or Swiss chard
1/2 large onion
1 tsp chili powder
1.5oz (45gr) feta cheese
1/4 cup Greek olives, about 10 olives
1 tbs ketchup
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar
1 tbs fresh oregano
2 tsp olive oil
Wash the chard and trim any bad bits. Stack the leaves together and fold over, the long way. Slice into thin strips, about 1/2" (1cm) using both leaves and stems. Roughly chop onion. Snip oregano leaves.
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add onion, chili powder and sauté until onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chard stems and stir-fry over medium heat 3 minutes, then add the leaves. Stir and turn until the leaves wilt and it all fits into the skillet. Add the ketchup, vinegar and stir well to combine. Reduce heat to low and cook until chard is tender, another 4 – 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
To finish: Crumble feta or cut into small cubes. Slice olives. Remove chard from heat, stir in feta, oregano and olives. Serve.