Posted by: Cailyn | April 13, 2009

Cheese, Please

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As mentioned before, Lowell and I are switching to raw (unpasteurized) dairy as often as we can.  Raw whole milk has got to be the best thing I’ve ever added to my coffee.  I’m slowly switching over our cheese selection to raw cheeses as well.  (No matter how healthy the switch is, I just can’t justify throwing out tasty cheese.)

If you’re not ready to make the switch to raw liquid dairy, try having some raw cheese.  The FDA requires that raw cheeses be aged at least 60 days at a temperature no lower than 35 degrees.  Due to the salt content and acidity of aging cheeses, any stray bacteria that come around aren’t going to want to stay around.  This means that raw cheeses can be less dangerous (assuming that raw dairy is dangerous) than raw milk.  Unlike milk, raw cheese is allowed to be sold across state lines, so raw cheese can also be easier to find.

Above is a picture of three raw cheeses that I picked up at Whole Foods today.  There’s a Swiss-like cheese, a "grating cheese," and a cheddar.  Because of the aging requirements, you’re unlikely to find raw soft cheeses like brie.   Of course, each states laws about raw dairy are different, so check with your local laws if you’re curious.  Some states may allow raw unaged cheeses but not their sale across state lines.

Sometimes it can be hard to figure out if what you’re buying is a raw cheese.  Of course, if you obsessively check the label of everything you pick up like I do, you might not need these pointers.

You probably won’t find raw cheeses at your local Safeway.  Stores like Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, other organic stores, or a local farmer’s market are the places to find raw cheeses.  I particularly like Whole Foods, because everyone I have met at their cheese counter has been helpful and friendly.  Often times the little signs that Whole Foods puts out to call attention to a cheese will say whether or not the milk is raw.  It’s safe to assume that if the label or ingredients don’t say "raw," it’s been pasteurized.

This Organic Valley cheese is easy to spot as raw.  It comes right out and says it on the front.  The ingredients listed include "unpasteurized milk" so we’ve got a winner here.

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Ah, a local cheese.  I really like the label on this one; it even tells me the type of cows that the milk came from!  Notice that the name doesn’t say anything about the cheese being raw.  It’s not until you read the ingredients that you find out that it’s made with raw milk.

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Mmm, cave-aged swiss.  "Raw" right there in the name.  But not in the ingredients.

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The moral of this story is to always check the label.  But if it doesn’t say "raw" in the name or ingredients, then it’s safe to assume that the product is not raw.  Not as easy as grabbing a block of Kraft off the shelf, but far more delicious.

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Responses

  1. […] Cailyn posted recently about our switch to raw dairy products (well, I did too), and in particular increasing our use of butter, cream, and (as carbs allow) raw whole milk (we already used a lot of cheese).  We can find raw milk from Jackie’s Jersey Milk and Dungeness Valley Creamery at Whole Foods and PCC, but since we’re trying to keep carb intake extremely low during our weight-loss phase (before we move to our more long-term and open, but still naturally low-carb, real-food approach) we have a preference for butter and cream for now.  It’s pretty wasteful to buy whole milk and just use the cream, so I’ve been looking for a better solution. […]


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