The word “ricotta” means “to cook again” in Italian and is derived from the preparation method for this creamy, cheesy food. Technically, ricotta is not a cheese, but a byproduct of the cheesemaking process. Cheese is made by slowly cooking the water out of milk. The curd settles on the bottom, and the water, or “whey,” floats to the surface. The whey is cooked again to make ricotta. Dedicated foodies have discovered how easy it is to make this product in their home kitchens, but they should know how to store ricotta properly to retain its freshness.
Transfer the ricotta from your drainage cloth into a glass or plastic container. Scrape as much as you can off the cloth with a spatula or a spoon. Although plastic containers will work, make sure the tub you are using does not have any strong smells that can impact the taste of the ricotta.
Tightly seal the container with its lid. Fresh ricotta needs to be kept in an airtight container for the best preservation. This food is highly perishable, so keeping it free from spoilage-inducing air is the best way to keep it fresh for at least a few days.
Store the container in the refrigerator toward the back of the unit where it is coldest to help preserve the ricotta’s freshness.
Consume the ricotta within five to seven days for the best flavor and texture. Check carefully if storing past this mark. If it has started to turn a yellow color or smells “off” in any way, discard it immediately.
Ricotta can be frozen, although it will lose flavor and texture. Store it in an airtight container, and then seal the container in a plastic bag. Use within 12 weeks for best results.