Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Cheese curds are the fresh curds of cheese, often cheddar. They are generally available in retail stores operated at cheese factories throughout the countries of Canada and the United States (especially in USA's Upstate New York, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Canada's provinces of Ontario, and Quebec, where they can be found in many grocery stores. ) Cheese curds are little-known in locations without cheese factories, because they should ideally be eaten within hours of manufacture.
Their flavor is mild with about the same firmness as cheese, but has a springy or rubbery texture. Fresh curds squeak against the teeth when bitten into, which some would say is their defining characteristic. Cheese curds are sometimes referred to as "Squeaky cheese." They are sometimes somewhat salty. The American variety are usually yellow or orange in color, like most American cheddar cheese. Other varieties, such as the Québécois and New York variety, can be roughly the same color as white cheddar cheese.
After twelve hours, even under refrigeration, they have lost much of their "fresh" characteristics, particularly the "squeak". This "squeak" has been described by the New York Times as sounding like "balloons trying to neck". After twenty-four hours, they will lose their freshness entirely. If they are purchased locally and need to be kept for a couple of days, room temperature, rather than refrigeration, may preserve the flavor and "squeak".
n Wisconsin, Minnesota, Upper Michigan, South Dakota, Northern Illinois, and Iowa, deep-fried cheese curds are often found at carnivals and fairs, and often local non-chain fast food restaurants and bars. Deep-fried cheese curds are covered with a batter, like that used for onion rings, or are breaded and placed in a deep fryer. In the United States, A&W Restaurants and Culver's have added fried cheese curds to their menus and they are available nationwide.
Cheese curds are a main ingredient in poutine, a dish in which cheese curds are served layered on top of french fries, and melting under steaming hot gravy.