Cheddar is the UK’s most popular cheese. Its texture is firm and slightly crumbly. As it matures the taste gets sharper. Usually, the maturing process takes between 9 to 24 months. It usually has a white or a pale yellow colour but certain types of cheddar can have an orange colour. Cheddar is found in a lot of different recipes! You can use it in sauces, on scones or in a classic recipe like Quiche Lorraine.
Cheddar cheese nutrition
Like most cheeses, cheddar has high levels of sodium. In terms of calories, there are 403 per 100g. On the plus side, cheese contains high amounts of calcium, fat, and protein. It also contains high amounts of vitamins A and B-12, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
Cheddar comes from a small village called Cheddar in Summerset, south-west England. Now there is only one producer left in the village of Cheddar itself. Nowadays cheddar is made all over the UK, from Devon right up to the Shetland Islands the most northern point of the UK!
Why is some Cheddar cheese orange?
Good question! In the past cows used to eat more green grass which contains beta carotenes (an organic, red/orange coloured pigment found in plants and fruits). This made the milk they produced naturally yellow or golden, especially in the spring and summer time. Thus producing a darker coloured Cheddar cheese.
This milk was perceived by many as being higher quality, so cheesemakers started adding food colouring to make the cheese this colour all year round.
Maturity of Cheddar
The length of Cheddar maturation gives many flavour variations: for example, mild cheddar has got a much lighter taste than extra-mature cheddar which has a long lingering flavour.
So, Cheddar could be classified:
- Mild Cheddar – Matures for 1-3 months.
- Semi-Matured or Medium – Matures for 3-6 months.
- Matured or Tasty – Matures for 6-12 months.
- Extra Mature or Vintage – Matures for 12 to 24 months.
One of our favourites uses for cheddar is in mac and cheese (macaroni and cheese).
- Start by adding pasta to a pot of boiling water.
- For the sauce melt some butter in a saucepan then add some flour and, mix until it forms a roux.
- Slowly pour in some milk while continuously stirring.
- When the mixture is smooth add the cheddar cheese and stir until melted.
- Mix in the pasta and you’re done!
If you want to take this dish to the next level place the pasta in a tray, add some extra cheese on top and bake until golden!