Saturday, October 6, 2012

Cottage Cheese Revisited

Handy Dandy Salad Spinner

I don’t get nearly enough dairy in my diet and have issues with vitamin D. I end up with leg cramps.  Eating cottage cheese helps alleviate it.  If I wake up with leg cramps, I know I’m getting too low, so I start eating cottage cheese every day.  The problem is, cottage cheese is expensive. I can’t afford to buy it every week.
And then there is the problem of buying several large tubs on sale and having some go bad before I can get it finished.  That’s really aggravating.

Once I realized that an 80% loss of our corn crop would affect no only meat prices, but dairy prices as well, I wondered what I would do when cottage cheese price would increase another 5%. (see my post - Hard Times a Commin’:  Linda’s Take)
I had decided the next time we go shopping (160 miles round-trip for us), I would look for some cottage cheese to dehydrate.  
I found a fantastic buy! Ten one-pound tubs for $10.00.  I bought ten tubs and wished I could afford fifty tubs.
If you are new to dehydrating, you will want to go to Dairy Doncha Know – Scoop On Cottage Cheese and read the first article I posted on dehydrating cottage chees.

When I dehydrated my first batch of cottage cheese, I ran into several issues, which I didn’t like. First, even though I stirred it, it tended to be a bit watery.  This water (whey) was messy and made the whole product take longer to dry.  Then, it affected the texture a bit when I rehydrated it.
So I wanted to get rid of that whey and work with just the curds (lumpy part) of the cottage cheese.  What to do?  Out came my trusty salad spinner!

Just Right! 

Sure enough, it did a great job in separating the curds from the whey.  Now I had nice and (relatively) dry pieces of cottage cheese to work with.

Leftover Liquid 

In the bottom of the salad spinner was this wonderful thick liquid.  I reserved and refrigerated it, not sure what to do with it.  That evening, while waiting for supper, I decided a snack was in order.  So I pulled out the liquid and used it as a dip for my Wasa crackers and dehydrated veggie chips.  It’s kind of like getting a “two-fer” for your money! 

What to do with the liquid:

  • Tasty as it is, just eat it
  • Use it as a dip for crackers and veggies, you might want to season it for special treats
    • Garlic salt
    • Basil
    • Pepper
    • Favorite herbs
    • Crushed / powdered veggies of your choice
    • Mix with sour cream for a little more zip
Cottage Cheese Curds 

The curds spread out just fine on the fruit leather trays. 


I put them on to dry in the morning. They were dry in about a day and a half.  Much better than the last batch which took three days to dry!

Cottage Cheese Crispies

The cottage cheese became hard little lumps. It has a bit of a yellowish color, but that is all right.  When rehydrated, it returns to it’s white color.

Linda’s Note: as usual, cottage cheese takes a long time to rehydrate. Don’t be in a hurry when you decide to serve some. However, instead of five hours, this only took about two and a half hours to rehydrate.  Much better. I’m thinking if you plan ahead, add water to your cottage cheese in the morning and put it in the fridge until later in the day.  It will rehydrate and keep just fine.

  • Side note: while waiting for mine to rehydrate,  I nibbled a little and found it to be a nice crunchy nibble.  That’s a personal taste, of course. Mike didn’t care for it.
 Why Would Anyone Bother Dehydrating Cottage Cheese?
  • Economically, you are not forced to buy cottage cheese at retail price when you need it. You can wait until it is SUBSTANTIALLY marked down and buy a large quantity.
  • By dehydrating your cottage cheese, you are no longer limited by how much you can store. Nine one-pound containers of dehydrated cottage cheese filled less than half of a one-gallon freezer bag.
  • Dehydrating eliminates the need for electricity and refrigeration to store extra containers of cottage cheese.


  1. You can use the whey to make cheese!!! Or, I am thinking you may get the beneficial stuff out of just drinking it instead of eating the cottage cheese.

    1. Good suggestion. I have the cheese making supplies, just haven't tried it yet. However, my husband Joe (a Sicilian who cooked from scratch) taught me to make ricotta cheese with milk, salt, and a dollop of vinegar.

  2. You can use the whey in smoothie drinks and I'm sure they must be a way to dehydrate that because I have bought cans of dried whey for my smoothies.

    1. Another good suggestion! I'm sure it would be delicious!

  3. I spray a cookie sheet with Pam, then pour a thin layer of whey on it. Then dehydrate in the oven for a few hours. It too will turn yellow. Then you have to scrap it off. Put it in a blender, and grind it up. You can use it in protein bars, in dog food or snacks to give their coats a pretty sheen. Also, it can be used in cereal, cookies, etc. It's high in protein, and very healthy.

    1. Thanks for the tip, AlishaR. I'm thinking that as the cost of dairy goes up starting in January (because of the corn drought last summer) many of us will not be able to afford dairy products at any cost. This is another way of providing for our families while we still can.

  4. How are u storing it? Can I take the cottage cheese and seal in sealer bag and store on shelf?

    1. Hi Angie, That's exactly right! It is shelf stable, no need for refrigeration. I keep hearing about people who dehydrate foods and then store it in the fridge or freezer until they are ready to use it. But if it is thoroughly dehydrated, there shouldn't be a problem with storing it without refrigeration.

      Isn't that wonderful?

  5. Is that thick liquid anything like sour cream?

    1. Hi,

      It's not as tart as sour cream. it tastes just like cottage cheese.

  6. I use whey in my bread making. What you have is a combination of whey and milk solids, which would be even better. I would replace water and/or milk called for in the bread recipe with the separated liquid. It adds protein to the bread and just enough milk solids and fat to help it rise a little better and brown beautifully. If you don't have enough to meet the recipe, just add a little of whatever the original liquid was.

    1. Wow Shannon! Thanks so much for the into. I'm sure everyone will appreciate it. Mike is the bread maker in our family. I never would have thought of it.