If you’re one of them, here are eight cheese facts you may enjoy:
1. One of the main reasons why we love cheese is a simple: Cheese is made from just a few basic ingredients. Only four simple ingredients are needed for natural cheese: milk, salt, a starter culture and an enzyme called rennet. In fact, you can even buy the ingredients or a kit to make cheese at home.
2. Processed cheese, which was originally developed for wartime, is made from high-quality natural cheese. The processing process makes it shelf stable, allowing the cheese to maintain its flavor, texture and smoothness.
3. Throughout the years, cheese makers around the world have taken those ingredients and have created thousands of varieties of cheese, each one with a unique taste and texture. No cheese is the same, but there are many standard types that we’ve come to know and love over the years like Cheddar, Swiss, blue, mozzarella and others.
4. History shows that the Pilgrims had their priorities straight: They made sure to bring cheese for their voyage on the Mayflower. Once they landed, many of those who opened dairies produced cheese, but it wasn’t until 1851 when the first cheese factory opened.
5. Today, about one-third of all milk produced every year in the United States goes toward making cheese.
6. Here’s another reason cheese is great for your chompers: Research shows that eating cheese right after a meal or as a snack helps reduce tooth decay. If you’re willing to give it a try, reach for Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, blue, Brie, Gouda or processed American cheese.
7. The average American eats about 23 pounds of cheese each year. If you break it down per day, it’s only about 1 oz., which fits well within the recommended number of daily dairy servings.
8. The most popular cheese recipe in the United States is – you guessed it – macaroni and cheese.
And remember, cheese is not only a delicious and nutrient-packed food, but it’s a great addition to most diets – even for those looking to lower their fat, caloric or sodium intake. A variety of cheeses that meet those needs may be found at your local grocery.