You probably know that Wisconsin leads the United States in cheese production (and makes the best cheese), but what you might not know is that cheese is believed to have been discovered by a Middle Eastern nomad. The legend says he poured milk into his saddlebag and after several hours of riding, the milk curdled, thus leaving white curds and liquid. While there’s no definitive proof as to where the first cheese curds were made, Wisconsin would like to take the credit.
Cheese curds are made when the whey and curd separate in the cheese making process. The result is fresh, mildly salty nuggets of cheese about the size of a peanut. They’re about as firm as regular cheese, but cheese curds have a springy, rubbery texture that squeak when the elastic protein strands rub against the enamel of your teeth. Although most cheese curds are cheddar, they can also be made with mozzarella, Colby-Jack or Monterey Jack cheeses. Cheese curds are best eaten the day they’re produced, but they can last a couple days in the refrigerator.