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Cheese Curds 101

Cheese Curds

By Lindsey Spaulding, Account Manager

What exactly are cheese curds? The plain and simple answer defines them as ‘solid parts of soured milk or as ‘premature byproducts of cheddar cheese.’ You’d be surprised to find out cheese curds were an unexpected accident –their first creation was unintentional! Long story short... a group of cheese experts were trying to make a cholesterol product from soured milk, however what came out of their experiments was not the intended product… but cheese curds instead? What a delicious discovery indeed!
Fresh cheese curds are famous for their unique “fresh curd” characteristics, in particular the “squeak”. A distinct squeaky noise and feeling can be experienced when eating cheese curds and the squeak is a good way to tell if they are fresh. Curds have a mild flavor and are sometimes somewhat salty. They are most often eaten as a snack, finger food or as an appetizer.

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Cheese curds are considered a local delicacy in Wisconsin and Minnesota. They can be found at carnivals, fairs, local restaurants and several fast food chains offer cheese curds as a part of their regular menu! Most people I know have a favorite local spot that has ‘great curds’. There are a variety of ways to serve cheese curds. Some deep-fry them first in batter, while others just enjoy them plain. Curds are often flavored with chili peppers, onion, garlic butter, herbs & spices – even Cajun flavored curds are out there! They are served with ketchup, marinara sauce, or my favorite.. ranch dressing to use for dipping. Cheese curds spoil very fast, so unless you store them in the refrigerator they become unusable quickly.

Cheese curds are a definite ‘must try’ item if you see them on a menu. I can honestly say I’ve never met anyone who said they didn’t enjoy cheese curds and their unique texture and flavor!