There is no doubt that it’s delicious, but why is feta cheese so salty?
Is the salt added during the cheesemaking process?
Does the way it is preserved have something to do with it?
How can you get rid of the salty taste?
Does the extra salt mean that feta cheese is bad for you?
How much sodium does feta contain?
Let’s answer all these important questions!
Feta cheese gets its salty taste from being cultured and stored in brine for up to two months. The brine, with a high salt content of up to 17%, gives feta its distinct flavor. The salt acts as a preservative to prevent bacterial growth. Feta has high moisture, and the salt helps draw out excess liquid to maintain its structure. To reduce the saltiness, rinse feta under running water and soak it in milk for at least three hours.
Why Does Feta Cheese Taste of Salt?
You can’t fail to notice that whichever brand of feta cheese you buy, it always tastes salty.
This is a natural characteristic of the cheese but is not to everybody’s taste.
Let’s find out why feta cheese tastes salty and how you can get rid of it.
The number one culprit is the brining process.
After the feta has been made, the blocks of cheese are stored in barrels of brine for up to two months.
This ages the cheese and gives it a distinct, tangy, salty flavor.
Feta is a soft cheese and is susceptible to the growth of bacteria and mold.
The brine inhibits these unwanted invaders and ensures the cheese lasts longer.
Feta cheese also has high moisture content and could dissolve quite quickly.
The salt in the brine draws out some of the excess liquid, but not to the point of drying it out.
On the downside, the salt content in the brine can be as high as 17%, which makes feta a high-sodium cheese.
Obviously, this makes it a poor choice if you need to follow a low-sodium diet.
If in doubt, always consult your healthcare professional for further advice.
How to Remove the Salty Taste from Feta Cheese?
So, what if you like the underlying taste of feta cheese, but the salt is overwhelming?
Don’t worry, there is a tried and tested method of removing the salty taste from the feta.
When you purchase feta, it will still be in its liquid, the brine, so your first task is to drain it.
This is followed by continuously rinsing under a cold tap for a few minutes.
Next, totally immerse the feta cheese in milk for at least three hours and preferably overnight.
This needs to be refrigerated at all times; otherwise, it will go off.
When ready to be served, rinse once more under cold water.
Pat dry with paper towels and enjoy your favorite dish!
It is possible to buy American Feta made from cow’s milk rather than traditional sheep’s milk.
This is less salty but doesn’t taste as good as Greek feta.
How to Rescue a Salty Dish
Feta cheese tastes salty because it is preserved in brine.
The salt is necessary to inhibit bacteria and mold and to prolong the life of the cheese.
This addition of a high amount of salt does make it a high-sodium cheese.
The salty taste can be removed by rinsing the feta and immersing it in milk.
Salted or not, feta is a great addition to any salad!
And talking of bacteria, what happens if you don’t refrigerate feta cheese?