Soft cheeses differ from hard cheeses because these cheeses result from cooking the whey after separating the curds from whey in milk. Ricotta cheese is one soft cheese that many cooks use for a variety of both savory and sweet recipes in the kitchen. Because of the freshness of ricotta cheese, it will not keep for the same long periods that many hard cheeses keep in the refrigerator. It's important to properly assess the freshness of ricotta cheese before you use it to evaluate whether or not it has gone bad.
Open the ricotta cheese container and look carefully at the soft cheese inside. You should see soft cheese with a creamy, white consistency. The ricotta cheese should stay evenly distributed in the container without separating.
Check for signs of mold on the surface of the ricotta cheese. Any mold on the ricotta cheese means that it is spoiling and should be discarded.
Smell the ricotta cheese. Ricotta cheese that is safe and suitable to use does not have much of a discernible scent. If you smell the ricotta cheese and you detect a spoiled dairy smell, do not use the ricotta cheese.
Ricotta cheese kept cold in the refrigerator should stay fresh for two weeks unopened and one week after opening. Always check the sell by date on the ricotta cheese container. Ricotta cheese will usually stay suitable to eat for approximately one week past this date.