Feta is a traditional Greek cheese know for its tangy flavor and crumbly texture. In Greece, it is made from sheep milk or sheep and up to 30% goat milk. It is an ancient custom dating back to at least the Byzantine Empire when it was first recorded, and it's also mentioned in Homer's Odyssey. In Greek cuisine, it is a staple on the table and served all of the time, like salt or pepper. The best feta is very tangy and crumbly - aged up to one year!
So Greeks love feta and eat it on practically everything, but how about Americans? And, how does ours compare?
Our feta is made from 60-70% sheep milk with the balance in goat milk. We typically age it in brine for 5-7 days, after which is had developed a good tangy flavor. You may see it labeled as "mild," but this is relative. It's a young cheese and if we aged it months or a year, it would have incredibly strong flavor and crumble more.
The marinated feta is submerged in olive oil with Mediterranean herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic. Feta submerged in oil does not need to be refrigerated and can be left out at room temperature. The feta often continues to lose whey which you may see as a liquid layer is at the bottom of the container. This has a good feta flavor. We also offer some crumbled or slab feta without herbs or oil. These types should be stored in the refrigerator.
I often have people ask about how to eat the feta. Aside from snacking on it piece by piece (good with crackers or baguette), there are plenty of ideas. Greeks top salads and gyros with it. Also mix with chopped watermelon, thin slices of red onion, and a little balsamic vinegar for a traditional Greek summer treat. It goes well on beans or with lentils. Slices of feta are delicious broiled or grilled - drizzle with a little oil and red pepper flakes, or herbs, sprouts, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It goes well with pastas, especially ones with sundried tomatoes or olives. It is also good in omelets and cold or grilled sandwiches.
Still interested in more ideas? I like to take the marinated feta, mash it in the oil, and drizzle it on French fries or use as dressing with balsamic vinegar on salad or pasta. Greeks also wrap feta in phyllo dough triangles - with or without veggies added - and bake into crunchy tangy treats. They can be used to stuff peppers, mushrooms, or zucchini. There are many more options and ideas!
Wife to Brandon, mother to Tess and Liam, farmer, entrepreneur, cook & baker, nurse, and accountant who loves to try new things, travel, and work toward greater self-reliance.