Parmesan - the real king of cheeses
Fans of cheeses probably tried gorgeous Parmesan. And what features this variety is different, is this product useful? Let's find out!
What kind of cheese is it?
Parmesan is a delicious Italian hard cheese variety, the cooking technology of which involves long ripening. The full and original name is “Parmigiano-Reggiano”, which translates as “Parma-Reggian” (the traditional product is made specifically in Reggio Nel Emilia, as well as in Parma).
Initially, the cheese is made in the form of large heads (up to 40 kilograms each), but before the implementation is packed. As noted above, Parmesan is hard, has a brittle and dense texture and usually crumbles when sliced. The taste is creamy, gentle, different spicy unusual aftertaste.
If you study the history of the origin of Parmesan, you can find out that allegedly the inventors of this sort of cheese were the monks of the Order of St. Benedict, who needed a product stored for a long time and not spoiled.In Italy, the product has been known since the 13th century, and Casanova and Moliere wrote about it (legends say that in the last years of his life he ate exclusively Parmesan).
Interestingly, Parmesan is often copied and imitated, therefore at the beginning of this century it was decided to consider only produced in the north of Italy to be true and real cheese.
But since the decree did not become mandatory and is still only of an advisory nature, today there are over seven hundred different manufacturers, and more than 100 companies are outside the European Union.
The production technology of Parmesan cheese is quite complex and consists of several stages. First, the freshest milk is delivered to a cheese factory or to a small home-made cheese-making factory. Moreover, to get only a kilogram of cheese, it takes about 16 liters of raw materials, so the price is fully justified.
A distinctive feature of the variety is that it uses two types of milk for production: evening milk yield and morning milk. The first is left overnight to remove excess fat, then it is mixed with the morning fat and heated to about 55 degrees, after which a special whey ferment is added to the composition.
The coagulated mass is separated by a needle whisk, due to which numerous grains are formed, which settle at the bottom of the boiler. The liquid is removed. Next, the curd is removed and left for some time in the fabric to remove residual liquid, after which it is decomposed into forms and sent to the basement in which a certain level of humidity should be maintained.
Within three days, the cheese is settled, and the cheese makers periodically turn heads. Next, the young cheese is placed in brine for three weeks, and during this period of time the cheesemakers also need to rotate the heads so that they evenly salted out.
The last and most important stage of production is ripening, which takes from two to three years! But after a year, quality assessment is carried out, and rejected heads (for example, with voids inside or a non-uniform texture) are branded and sold under other names. This is a young product, receiving the status of Mezzano. The remaining heads will receive Export and Extra marks and will continue to look.
Parmesan contains many nutrients: calcium, phosphorus, zinc, protein, potassium, sodium,magnesium, iron, glutamic acid, poly- and monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins D, A, K and B group.
It's no secret that hard cheeses are very healthy, and Parmesan is no exception. It is worth noting the following useful properties:
- This product contains a large amount of calcium needed to strengthen bones, nails and hair. Also in the composition is vitamin D, which provides proper and complete absorption of calcium.
- Parmesan is an excellent source of protein, and its content is higher than in meat, and it is absorbed by the body much faster.
- The B vitamins normalize metabolic processes and improve the functioning of the nervous system: they relieve from the effects of stress and elevate mood.
- Zinc, which can be found in such a product, has anti-inflammatory properties.
- The phosphorus contained in parmesan improves brain function and increases mental alertness.
- Potassium is good for the heart, as it strengthens the myocardium.
- Magnesium stabilizes the muscular system.
- The useful lactic acid bacteria contained in the cheese not only normalizes the intestinal microflora, but also strengthens the immune system.
Tip: do not abuse this cheese, especially for people suffering from renal failure, diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, migraines and hypertension.
How to make a choice?
How to choose a truly tasty and healthy Parmesan cheese? Pay attention to the following important points:
- On the head of this Parmesan you can find several marks. The most important is Parmigiano-Reggiano, confirming the origin. Abbreviation D.O.P. guarantees high quality.
- Before selling the cheese is packaged, so appreciate the packaging. Vacuum retains smell and taste, but ideally it is better to purchase a piece cut from the whole head.
- Rate the texture: it should be dense. When chopping the cheese crumbles.
- A lot will tell and color. It resembles baked milk, and the crust has a golden yellow shade.
- You should not buy grated Parmesan, nobody can guarantee its quality.
How to use such cheese?
The gorgeous Parmesan is a delicate, self-contained dish, and using the product in its pure form will allow you to fully experience its taste. In Italy, they like to eat it with balsamic vinegar, and also to serve it after a main meal with pears and walnuts.Also, this cheese can be an excellent addition to classic Italian pizza, salad, pasta or savory soup.
What to cook from parmesan? We offer two options:
- Make a terrific salad that will amaze any gourmet. You will need arugula, cherry tomatoes, parmesan, olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Cheese grate, pick a greens, and cut the cherry into halves. Mix all ingredients, salt and season with a mixture of lemon juice and olive oil.
- This recipe will make an amazing parmesan pasta. You will need: 100 g of cheese, 200 g of spaghetti, 10 g of butter, 50-70 ml of cream, oregano and salt to taste. First you need to cook spaghetti "al dente", that is, so that they remain a little firm. Put them in a pan with hot butter. Immediately rub the cheese and add it to the spaghetti along with the cream, oregano and salt. Stir everything, and after one or two minutes turn off the fire and serve the ready dish.
If you have not tried parmesan yet, then by all means discover its amazing taste!
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