I first completed the Whole Living Challenge – a 30 day challenge of cutting out processed foods and beverages, sugar, dairy, gluten, caffeine, and alcohol in attempts to detoxify your body – back in 2011. After 30 days of successfully cleansing my body – and my palate – I couldn’t help but notice how differently (and gross!) processed foods tasted to me. Ketchup immediately comes to mind. It tasted like straight sugar! Nearly every processed food I used to eat on a daily basis prior to my first time doing the Challenge either tasted disgusting to me or made me sick once I tried it again afterwards.
The one thing I didn’t notice that first year, however, was shredded cheese.
It wasn’t until earlier this year, after my third time doing the Whole Living Challenge, that I realized how gross pre-shredded, bagged cheese tasted.
I had made myself a plate of nachos using a bag of shredded colby jack cheese and couldn’t help but make that oh-so-unattractive tongue smacking across the roof of my mouth face in hopes of temporarily killing taste buds. G noticed (because it was oh-so-sexy) and asked what was wrong.
“This is going to sound really weird,” I said slowly between my tongue/mouth roof smacking, “but this cheese tastes like…(tongue smack, tongue smack)…sawdust?!”
“That’s because it is,” he replied matter-of-factly.
A quick search of the ingredients on the package later and I discovered G was right.
Packaged shredded cheese contains cellulose – an “ingredient” that keeps shredded cheese from sticking together. Cellulose is made from wood pulp. Wood pulp keeps packaged pre-shredded cheese from sticking together.
Seriously. That’s gross.
My tongue smacks soon turned into dry heaves as I imagined splinters coating my throat once I swallowed my nacho.
That was several months ago, and since that time I’ve been buying blocks of cheese, shredding it myself using the grater attachment on my food processor, and bagging it up and freezing it for my family’s future (splinter-free throat) enjoyment.
Did you know you can freeze cheese?
Nothing is worse to a Wisconsin girl than realizing you’re out of cheese in the house. It’s a travesty that will bring shame to your family faster than saying you’re not a Green Bay Packer fan. I come from a long line of genuine Wisconsin (Packer-loving) cheese freezers and I’m here to tell you it’s not only possible, it’s a necessity to prevent your deportation to Minnesota.
Simply start with a block of cheese, shred it (it takes literally only seconds using a food processor), and then spread your shredded cheese out onto a rimmed cookie sheet:
Place the rimmed cookie sheet in your freezer for approximately one hour:
After an hour or so, stir/break up the cheese on the cookie sheet using your hands, and put back in the freezer for another hour. Once your shredded cheese is frozen, bag it up in freezer bags or reusable freezer containers and store in your freezer until you’re ready to use it.
I’ve been doing this all year and I’ve found there’s no need to add any additional ingredient to your cheese to keep it from sticking together as long as you wait until it’s already frozen on a cookie sheet before bagging it up. Once you’re ready to use it it only takes a couple of minutes to thaw at room temperature, or you can use it frozen if you’re adding it to a dish that will be cooked.
With such a simple, cheap (block cheese is cheaper per ounce than bagged cheese!), quick and easy way to eliminate wood pulp from your diet – what are you waiting for? Start shredding your own cheese today!
Interested in more healthy freezer meal ideas? Join me at my house for my Wildtree party on Tuesday, August 13th! You have until this Monday, July 1st to RSVP and now you don’t even need to be within driving distance of me to attend – you can join us virtually! Email me at the address below if you’re interested:
I’d love to see you there!
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