What are Curds and Whey?

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"Little Miss Muffet sat on her tuffet, eating her curds and whey…" Wait. What are curds and whey? If you answered cottage cheese, you're right. The curd is the lumps and the whey is the liquid. While it may not sound very appetizing, cottage cheese has some health benefits to consider.

Cottage cheese starts out with pasteurized nonfat milk. Cultures and enzymes are added, which starts the fermentation process. This acidification makes some of the proteins in milk clump together (curds separate from the whey). Once the curds are formed, they are cut into small, medium or large pieces, cooked and blended with a salty cream dressing. Besides the size of the curd, cottage cheese is sold in varying fat levels. Creamed cottage cheese is made by containing nonfat cottage cheese with a light cream dressing. It contains at least four percent milkfat. Lowfat cottage cheese is also made with a cream dressing but contains no more than two percent milkfat. Nonfat cottage cheese does not contain any cream dressing and contains no more than 0.5 grams milkfat per serving. It's important to understand that even full-fat cottage cheese is only 4% fat; most cheeses hover around 30%.

Cottage cheese has a team of nutrients for good bone health, including protein, calcium, phosphorus and potassium. The caveat is that cottage cheese is high in sodium. Compare labels, as sodium content will differ by brand, and try to avoid other high sodium foods that day. While many people eat cottage cheese right out of the container, consider other uses, such as in scrambled eggs, pasta dishes, potato dishes, fruit parfaits, or smoothies. So go sit on your tuffet, and eat curds and whey. Wait. What's a tuffet?

Cottage Cheese Fettuccini Alfredo (Printable PDF)

8 oz. fettuccini noodles

1 cup skim milk

½ cup 2% milkfat cottage cheese

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

½ teaspoon garlic powder

⅛ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon black pepper

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Cook noodles according to package directions. In a food processor or blender, add remaining ingredients except parsley. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally. Cook until slightly thickened and heated through. Add cooked pasta and toss. Serve garnished with parsley if desired.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 300 calories, 5 grams fat, 380 milligrams sodium, 49 grams carbohydrate, 0 grams fiber, 16 grams protein