A dallop of Ricotta cheese on pizza can create a tsunami of flavors in your mouth, which is why people always store this kind of cheese in their pantry. Since it is also used for making cheesecakes and pancakes, it is generally stored in bulk.
Mostly, in such cases, people end up losing their favorite ricotta cheese due to the lack of storage techniques. If you want to avoid such circumstances, you must undertake proper storage techniques which are explained in the following article.
So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get all your Ricotta cheese-related questions answered.
What is the Shelf-Life of Ricotta Cheese?
The shelf-life of Ricotta Cheese is the same as cottage cheese. The Ricotta Cheese has a shelf-life of two weeks. The unopened container of Ricotta Cheese lasts for a couple of days after the use-by date printed on the label.
After opening the container, it is best to consume it within a week to enjoy its peak quality. The faster you finish it after opening it, the better the quality.
If you keep your Ricotta Cheese refrigerated properly after bringing it home from the supermarket, it will keep its peak quality for at least three to five days more. But, you must not expect any miracle; after all, it is a dairy product with a higher probability of going rancid.
According to Saputo, if you store the Ricotta Cheese in an airtight container after opening, it may sustain peak quality for a week.
|Unopened Ricotta Cheese||Best-Before Date Plus Three to Five Days|
|Opened Ricotta Cheese||Three to Seven Days|
Please note these periods are the estimates for the best quality online.
What are the Spoilage Signs of Ricotta Cheese?
Now that you are aware of the shelf-life, it is time to learn about the spoilage signs of Ricotta Cheese. The ingredients in Ricotta Cheese separate a little bit, and you must not consider it a spoilage sign. Crystal Farms Dairy Co says that you can fix it by stirring it and then using it.
A couple of characteristics can help you know if your Ricotta Cheese is edible or has gone bad.
Ricotta Cheese has no smell, and it only radiates a smell like fresh milk when it is fresh. But, when Ricotta Cheese goes rancid, it releases a sour smell. So, if you notice any sour smell coming from the Ricotta Cheese, discard it because it is a surefire sign of spoilage.
The fresh Ricotta Cheese has a subtle sweet taste. But, it turns sour when the Ricotta Cheese starts degrading. So, if you notice a sour taste in your Ricotta Cheese, discard it as it indicates that the cheese has gone bad and is no longer safe for consumption.
The fresh Ricotta Cheese has a slightly grainy, smooth, and creamy texture. Some Ricotta Cheese ingredients are separate, and it is normal in a dairy product. But, it must not get clumpy. Discard the cheese if you notice any black spots or mold growth on the surface.
It is not safe to remove the moldy portion from the cheese and use the remaining part. Since Ricotta Cheese is a soft cheese, mold may infiltrate and spread easily across the cheese, making it inedible and harmful.
Ricotta Cheese has a snowy white color when it is fresh. The color changes from snowy white to light yellow or brown as it starts degrading. If you notice a color change in your Ricotta Cheese, discard it immediately.
What Happens When You Eat Spoiled Ricotta Cheese?
Ricotta Cheese has a short shelf-life of seven days, and it is always best to consume it as early as possible after opening the container to enjoy its best quality. There is no harm in consuming the Ricotta Cheese a couple of days past its best-by date, provided that it has no spoilage signs and is stored properly.
Since Ricotta Cheese is a dairy product, there is a higher chance of mold growth. Besides, Ricotta Cheese is a soft cheese, and you must never cut off the moldy part and consume the remaining portion. The mold growth easily spreads across the Ricotta Cheese and contaminates the entire cheese portion.
So, if you notice green or dark spots of mold in your Ricotta Cheese, discard them without consuming them. Consuming moldy Ricotta Cheese may cause food poisoning. Ricotta Cheese may also develop Listeria, a kind of bacteria that may prove fatal.
People died after consuming Ricotta Cheese contaminated with Listeria Bacteria, as per the report of Webmd.com. So, moldy Ricotta Cheese may have this bacteria, and consuming it may be fatal.
Can You Freeze Ricotta Cheese? Refrigerated Vs. Shelf-Stable
Freezing is considered the best choice to preserve your Ricotta Cheese longer. Both unopened and opened Ricotta Cheese keep their peak quality longer when frozen. When stored properly in a freezer, it can sustain the freshness for up to three months.
Frozen Ricotta Cheese can keep its quality for three months when frozen at zero degrees Fahrenheit. Freezing Ricotta Cheese longer may lead to consistency and texture change because it has high moisture content. To avoid it from happening, ensure to follow the below tips.
- Freeze the unopened Ricotta Cheese in the original container.
- Ensure to stir the Ricotta Cheese before freezing to freeze it evenly and drain the excess moisture from the cheese before freezing. Press the cheese with a paper towel to drain the excess moisture.
- Freeze the Ricotta Cheese by wrapping it with plastic wrap and putting it in a freezer bag. Ensure to remove excess air from the bag before freezing.
Ricotta Cheese stays fresh and safe when refrigerated properly in a fridge. The temperature of a fridge keeps the cheese cool, preventing mold and bacteria from growing.
Every container of Ricotta Cheese comes with a use-by date printed on it. If the container is unopened, you can refrigerate it and use it a couple of days more past its use-by date.
After opening, you must refrigerate the container continuously and ensure to consume it within a week. Once it is opened, it is exposed to air, which affects the freshness of the cheese, and it starts degrading gradually.
Since Ricotta Cheese is a dairy product, it can’t be considered a shelf-stable cheese. So, it is not safe to keep your leftover Ricotta Cheese at room temperature. Keeping your Ricotta Cheese at room temperature or above 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours may cause bacterial and mold growth.
Both unopened and opened containers of Ricotta Cheese must not be left outside the fridge for more than two hours. If it is stored outside for more than two hours, discard it, as it is not a safe bet to consume the Ricotta Cheese outside a fridge for more than two hours.
The same rule is applicable for the recipe cooked using Ricotta Cheese. Even the cooked meal with Ricotta Cheese left outside for more than two hours must be discarded.
What are the Best Methods to Store Ricotta Cheese?
By now, it is clear that without proper refrigeration or freezing, your Ricotta Cheese won’t last long. Plus, you must avoid leaving the Ricotta Cheese at room temperature to help it last longer. Besides, a couple of other effective storage methods can help your Ricotta Cheese last and stay fresh longer.
Keep Your Ricotta Cheese Sealed
If you are not planning to use the Ricotta Cheese right away or sooner, prefer to keep it unopened and sealed. After opening, the leftover Ricotta Cheese must be stored and sealed tightly to sustain its freshness longer.
Store in Airtight Container
If you have opened the original container of Ricotta Cheese and have not used the entire cheese, ensure to store it well-sealed in an airtight container. If the original container is re-sealable, there is no need to use an airtight container as the original container can work best.
However, if plastic bags are available, ensure to transfer the leftover Ricotta Cheese to an airtight glass or plastic container for better storage. It will prevent air leakage and exposure and prolong the shelf-life of the Ricotta Cheese.
Alternatives for Ricotta Cheese if it Goes Bad
In case you forgot to properly store ricotta cheese, you can try the following substitutes:
- Cream cheese
- Cottage cheese
- Fromage Blanc
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is It Still Safe and Edible to Eat Ricotta Cheese With Water on Top?
Ricotta Cheese has a high moisture content, and when you store it for a prolonged period in a fridge, the product settles at the bottom, allowing the ingredients to separate. So, you will notice a gel-like substance or water floating on top of the Ricotta Cheese. It is safe and edible. You can still use it by giving it a stir to blend the ingredients and restore the appearance.
Q.Can Moldy Ricotta Cheese Make Us Sick?
Ricotta Cheese is a soft cheese and consuming moldy soft cheese is always risky. So, if you see any mold spores or dark spots on the top of the Ricotta Cheese, discard the entire portion. You must not cut off the moldy part and consume the remaining portion. Mold or bacteria may develop and spread across the entire cheese, and it may cause food poisoning symptoms, like diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, and more.
Q. Why is my Ricotta Rubbery?
Making ricotta cheese at home has a few drawbacks, especially if you have never made it before. For example, if the Ricotta is stirred during the formation of the curds, it might become rubbery.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, it is clear by now that Ricotta Cheese is a soft cheese that needs to be refrigerated to sustain its freshness and quality longer. However, the cheese has a shorter lifespan and needs to be stored in a freezer or a fridge to prolong its shelf-life for a couple of days past its use-by date.
Ricotta Cheese tends to go bad quickly, and it develops spoilage signs that let you know when it has gone rancid. So, you must always check the spoilage signs before using them and ensure to discard them if you see any visible spoilage signs.
Consuming moldy Ricotta Cheese is harmful and may cause serious health issues. So, ensure to check correctly before using it.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michael A. Antoine is a Sr. Chef at one of the leading chains of restaurants in the USA. He might raise hell in his kitchen, but his deep and practical knowledge about food and recipes helps us give you the best and tastiest recipes.