Thrive Life recently added Freeze-Dried Parmesan cheese to their inventory! Thrive Life already has several different kinds of cheeses, and since so many people use Parmesan in cooking, this will allow for even more versatility when cooking with your food storage.
A Quick Note: If you have never tried freeze-dried cheese before and don’t know what it is or how to use it, read about the basics here.
First off, the FD Parmesan offered by Thrive Life is markedly more expensive than the kind you get at your local grocery store in the green container. The green container stuff is shelf stable and doesn’t require refrigeration until after opening, so why would you want to pay top dollar for something just because it has the word “freeze-dried” on the label?
Because, as in all things, you get what you pay for. Thrive Life’s Parmesan cheese is actual Parmesan cheese, only freeze-dried. Unlike that regular grocery-store powdered stuff, freeze-fried Parmesan tastes like real Parmesan. I was pleasantly surprised by the complex smokey flavor – that’s not something that one would expect from a product that comes in a #10 can.
In contrast, powdered Parmesan cheese is good for putting on pizza or sprinkling over popcorn, but no one would consider it a gourmet ingredient.
Cellulose In Cheese
If you were to walk to your fridge, pull out your Parmesan, and look at the ingredients, you’ll probably notice “cellulose” is listed. Green-can cheese has cellulose in it. What is it and what is its function? Cellulose is processed and refined wood pulp. In Parmesan cheese, its function is to keep the cheese powder from clumping together. It is often found in ice cream (or frozen dairy dessert) where it is used as a thickener.
When it was first brought to the general public’s attention a few years ago that cellulose was a common food additive, people freaked out. One article that I read on the subject several years ago asserted that the cellulose was derived from recycled newspapers; this assertion proved false. It’s not a big deal, really – cellulose is a non-soluble fiber and passes safely through your gut. Some people might feel a little squeamish about it, and that is down to personal preference. Most people would prefer to better to get your dietary fiber from whole grains and fruits and vegetables than additives in cheese.
Cellulose comprises about 2-4% of your average grocery store Parmesan cheese. In some cases where cheese labeled, “100% Parmesan Cheese” was found to contain up to 10% cellulose, the FDA filed criminal charges and the offending product was removed from shelves.
As with most freeze-dried products on the market, an unopened can of Thrive Life’s FD Parmesan will be good for 20 years if stored in an optimal location, and an open can will be good for up to one year sitting on your pantry shelf. Powdered Parmesan is good for 18 months unopened, and must be kept in the refrigerator after opening.
FD Parmesan cheese can be used as is, without reconstituting. If you don’t like the crunchy texture, it can be rehydrated with a little water. Parmesan is naturally a very hard and dry cheese, so err on the side of too little water. If used in cooking, don’t bother with rehydration – just add it as-is, and the cheese will absorb any necessary moisture during the cooking process.
Recipe: Parmesan Meatballs
- 1 lb fresh ground beef (unfortunately you cannot use FD ground beef – the meat must be raw in order to cook into meatballs.
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c bread crumbs
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp garlic
- 1/4 c dehydrated, minced onions
- 1/4 c Thrive Life Freeze-Dried Parmesan Cheese
- About 1 tbsp olive oil, for cooking.
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce of your choice
Thoroughly Combine all ingredients. Many chefs insist that bare hands is the only proper way to do this, but latex gloves my be used if desired. Form into balls. Put some olive oil at the bottom of a large skillet and gently place your meatballs inside. Pour the jar of sauce over the meatballs, cover, and let simmer on medium heat for about 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure that the meatballs do not burn. Serve over with pasta or in garlic bread as a sandwich. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese. Makes approximately a 16 golfball-sized meatballs.
I hope you’ll give Thrive Life’s Parmesan cheese a try!