It is said that cheesemaking is as old as humanity, as it emerged in tandem with the taming of domestic animals possibly 8,000 years ago. There are many references in history to cheese, and the Feta as we know it – a salty, crumbly white cheese in brine made from sheep’s milk – may date back to that time.
In ancient Greece, the earliest records of cheesemaking can be found in Homer’s “Odyssey” where the cyclops named Polyphemus was the first to prepare the ancestor of our present-day Feta cheese. According to the myth, he used to transport the milk from his sheep in skin bags made of animal stomachs. One day he realized, to his great surprise, that the milk had curdled and taken solid form – and actually tasted good. When that myth turned into the reality of making cheese would be impossible to verify, but the production of Feta has been known since that time.
Indeed, during the Archaic time period, records pointed to ancient Greeks producing a type of Feta cheese using sheep’s milk, using Polyphemus’ technique, although at that time it was simply called cheese.
Today Feta is still Greece’s most popular cheese, and it is enjoyed around the world. Unfortunately, most Feta that is mass produced is made from cow’s milk, which has very little flavor and quite a different texture. True Feta should be produced from sheep’s milk, as it was in ancient times. The European Union (EU) legislation dictates that Feta must contain 70% sheep milk to maintain its Protected Designation of Origin classification. At Verde Oveja we believe that 100% sheep milk is required to produce the best true form of Feta cheese.
Feta cheese characteristics:
- Semi soft cheese with a texture that can vary from soft to firm to crumbly depending on the milking season of the sheep and the length of aging.
- Aged for as little as 30 days or as long as 90 days.
- 100% Sheep milk.
- Aged in an 8% brine solution.
Tips for home preservation:
Keep in the supplied brine in an airtight container in your refrigerator in a humid location. Your Feta cheese will keep for 3-6 weeks in the provided brine solution. If the brine becomes cloudy then replace the brine with fresh 5-8% brine solution. This cheese develops a lovely strong, sharp flavor as it ages.
Slice and serve with olives and crackers for an appetizer, crumble into salads as a topper, sprinkle on pizza, make phyllo turnovers, or a super tasty spanakopita! The options are endless for this versatile tasty treat!
- Small Bag ~4 oz for $7.00
- Large Bag ~8 oz for $14.00