While most people probably don’t think of cream cheese when they think of their favorite cheese, this popular dairy product is not actually a type of cheese. The cream cheese is made from a combination of cream and milk and is not matured or aged like other cheeses; instead, lactic acid is added to reach the desired consistency.
Versions of this type of cheese have been made in France since 1650, but in 1880, a well-known New York cheese manufacturer began distributing this type of cheese in foil packaging under the “Cheese Philadelphia Cream” label, which continues to be one of the most recognized brands today.
He used the name Philadelphia because, at that time, the association of food with that city suggested a better quality. The company was finally bought by Kraft Foods in 1928 and remains the most recognized brand in the United States, where cream cheese is one of the most consumed cheeses.
For many Americans, it is a tasty food for breakfast, but there are many other uses for cream cheese as well. Cream cheese can be used to make cheesecakes, creams or to thicken sauces. It is sometimes used instead of butter or olive oil in purees.
Cream cheese is similar to French Neufchatel cheese in that it is made from cow’s milk but differs in that it often contains emulsifiers to give firmness and prolong life. The USDA requires that standard cream cheese must have at least 33% fat and no more than 55% water, although low-fat and fat-free varieties are available on the market.
How much does cream cheese cost?
Cream cheese is a popular ingredient in many foods. However, the price can vary from store to store. Some cream cheeses are sold as blocks while others as tubes, both of them weighing 8 ounces. The price for one of these is anywhere between $1.25 and $3.50, depending on where you purchase them from and brand preferences. For example, at Aldi Friendly Farms, an 8-ounce package is sold for about $1.50, whereas at Walmart, Great Value prices range anywhere between $1.75 and $3.50. Food Club offers another option through its food club stores with this type of product costing around $1.80.
If you choose to buy in bulk, one container usually weighs almost 3 pounds, and the cost for one of these is anywhere between $12 and $15. As an example, a 3-pound tub of Kraft Philadelphia cream cheese costs about $12 at Costco.
Depending on the favorite brand, the price of one pound of cream cheese is somewhere between $5 and $8.
The table below presents the price estimates for some of the most popular cream cheese brands found at your local grocery store.
|Kraft Whipped Cream Cheese Spread||$5|
|Philadelphia Original Brick||$4|
|Clover Cream Cheese||$2|
|Store Branded Cream Cheese (Shoprite, Foodtown Kroger, Great Value)||$1 to $2|
|Philadelphia Reduced Fat||$4|
|Organic Valley Cream Cheese Spread||$4.50|
|Challenge Original Cream Cheese||$3|
|Challenge Cream Cheese||$3|
Important things to consider
Cream cheese is one of the most versatile ingredients around, and its availability extends far beyond your typical grocery store. Cream cheeses come in different forms, from tubs with a creamy consistency for spreading on bagels to bricks that can be broken up into smaller pieces for use as fillings or dips (or anything else you might need). Besides the original flavors, there are some specialty flavors that include strawberry, jalapeno, garden vegetables, honey, salmon, cinnamon, onion, or chocolate. Often, the price for these additional options is as much as the one paid for the original flavor.
The cream cheese will last longer if you refrigerate it. The package should have an expiration date which is to be observed in order for your product not to get spoiled.
To get the necessary firmness, some of the less expensive brands add guar gum to their product. This is because high-fat milk products often have a tendency of separating due to their higher content in fats and proteins that can cause them not to mix properly with other ingredients like water or oil which leads to the formation of these semi-solid substances called “cream dams”.
Assortments of cream cheese made without stabilizers can be more crumbly than spreadable, and have a relatively short shelf life, even when stored in the refrigerator.
Cream cheese is not a good source of protein, as it only contains 1 gram per ounce. Furthermore, cream cheese can also be high in saturated fats with 40% being common among traditional varieties such as Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
Cream cheese is a tricky ingredient to work with because it can dry out quickly. To avoid this, make sure the cream cheese has been sitting at room temperature for 30 minutes before using it in your recipes, or just set it out on a microwaveable-safe plate and cook on high for 10 seconds.
Cream cheese is the main ingredient in “Crab Rangoon”, an appetizer usually served in Chinese restaurants in the US. It is also commonly used to make sushi rolls.
Cream cheese nutrition
How can I save money?
When it comes to saving money and still tasting great, store-branded cream cheese can do the job for about 30 percent less than its name-brand counterpart.
If buying a name brand of cream cheese, look for coupons before you buy. You can find these all over social media and through email subscriptions as well as on the official websites.
Instead of buying cream cheese from the store, you can try to cook it on your own as it is easy to prepare and is very tasty and fine. Cream cheese is made from ordinary sweet cottage cheese. You can add greens, ham, or any spices to it, to give it a new taste every time.