Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Low Sodium Cheese

Finding low sodium cheeses is quite difficult. They are not readily available at most local grocery stores. Of course, you can always order them from a low sodium online source, but I don't like the idea of plunking down a bunch of money for a product and its shipping, only to discover that it tastes yucky. My local grocery stores all carry Alpine Lace Reduced Sodium Muenster Cheese (1 slice = 85 mg. sodium) in the self-service section of their delis. The cheese tastes OK (muenster is rather bland to start with), but it is very soft and almost impossible to separate. I don't buy it very often as a result.

My local Safeway carries its house brand of sliced Primo Taglio Reduced Fat Low Sodium Lacy Swiss (1 slice = 35 mg. sodium). It's usually pretty easy to separate the slices, so I buy it often and use it in sandwiches. Alpine Lace Reduced Fat Swiss is fairly low in sodium too (1 slice = 90 mg. sodium). Because it's a Swiss cheese, the thin slices are also easy to separate.

I've found that Swiss cheese has the lowest sodium content of any regular type cheese; most regular cheese has 170 mg. sodium per oz. or even more. You have to check the labels, of course, but most blocks of Swiss cheese have a sodium content similar to the Tilamook Swiss Cheese (1 oz. = 60 mg.) I often purchase. I'll even buy sliced Swiss from the deli counter after I ask about its sodium content. Look for lower sodium Swiss cheese blocks at your local grocers.

Our favorite cheese is Tilamook Sharp Cheddar (1 oz. = 170 mg. sodium). Obviously, I have to be careful using it, and I've developed a "work around." When I shred cheese, I use half sharp cheddar & half block Swiss. Doing it that way, I lower the sodium content considerably and the flavor is as good or even better. Another thing I do is shred cheese in advance and freeze he shreds.That way I can a sprinkling to any dish that needs a little visual "punch."
I've discovered that fresh mozzarella cheese is also naturally low in sodium. My local grocery stores carry Mozzarella Fresca (1 oz. = 95 mg. sodium) and Smoked Mozzarella Fresca (1 oz. = 25 mg. sodium). The fresh mozzarella is quite soft, so before I slice it for pizza, I usually stick it in the freezer for about 15 minutes. This stiffens it up enough so I can slice it fairly easily. You might have better luck just cutting it into cubes. Check out the fresh mozzarella offerings at your local grocery stores.

Safeway carries an unsalted cottage cheese. Unfortunately, it tastes like chalk all by itself! It's very good in lasagna, spanakopita, enchiladas, etc. If you like to eat plain cottage cheese, you might want to try one of these "work around" options. OPTION #1: Buy one container of the Lucerne No Salt Added 1% Cottage Cheese (1/2 cup = 45 mg. sodium) and one container of Lucerne 2% Cottage Cheese (1/2 cup = 410 mg. sodium). Combine the two containers and re-pack. Now you'll have a lower sodium cottage cheese (1/2 cup = 228 mg. sodium) that has some flavor. Not a perfect solution, but the no salt alternative is inedible in my estimation. OPTION #2: Buy one container of the Lucerne No Salt Added 1% Cottage Cheese (1/2 cup = 45 mg. sodium) and add 1/2 tsp. of Kosher salt; mix well. This will also give you a lower sodium content (1/2 c. = 180 mg. sodium). Again, not a perfect low salt solution, but, take my word for it, the no salt cottage cheese is dreadful on its own. However, it is just fine in any casserole type dish where it's combined with some robust flavors.

(For information about Sargento's new low sodium cheese products, check out this POST.)

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU for your advice and sharing what you have discovered. My husband has to be on low sodium and we were wondering what sort of cheese to choose. Your site has given us very useful information. Thanks again - Ross & Micky

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this information. My four-year-old granddaughter recently had to start taking prednisone and we are struggling to find ways to include her favorite meals (ie: pizza!)in our low sodium diet for her. The shredded cheese combo you mentioned sounds tasty! Thanks Again, Carolyn and Savannah

TheMachine1 said...

You can dramatically reduce the sodium in shredded cheese by a quick soak in water. It does tend to get water logged though. I cooked a pizza and it had a puddle of water. So it needs to be dried some how.

shambo said...

I've found that using a combination of fresh mozzarella and Swiss cheese along with some regular mozzarella works really well for pizza. You end up with less sodium than if you used all regular mozzarella.

scrapper al said...

Thank you for this information. I already cook (relatively) low sodium, but now need to learn how to cook even lower sodium for my FIL. I was trying to figure out what to do about cheese since FIL is Italian. It looks like I can still make him lasagne if I'm careful.

Anonymous said...

Lorraine Swiss, and Reduced Fat Lorraine Swiss sodium is 75 mg per ounce, which equals to one deli slice. One slice is big enough to cut in half lowering it to around 35-40 mg. I sell this in my low sodium section of my deli. Very strong taste also.

Cheese said...

Thank you so much for posting this Article.
My wife like this.

Susan said...

Thank you for sharing your research. I was looking for a low sodium cheese. As a former grocery cashier, I have seen many fresh mozzarella go through and now I know why. In my dieting I wanted to keep my salt down and every time cheese and processed meats seemed to defeat me.

nicholas said...

THANKS FOR POSTING THIS HELPFUL INFORMATION. LOW SODIUM IS NOT EASY TO FIND ANYWHERE!

Liz said...

Thank You So much for posting this, it is so difficult to find cheeses and now I know what I can look for. I really appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

When I lived in Westmont IL there is a store called Westbrook and I used to be able to buy Caputo's cheese, especially mozzarella that had only 20mg of sodium. It was delicious but I can't find it anywhere else and have no idea how to get it shipped to me in Wisconsin.

shambo said...

20 mg sodium per serving is great for any cheese. I searched and found the market you referred to. The website says that an online shop is coming soon. Here's the link:

http://www.wisconcorp.com/consumersales.html

Mindy said...

Thank you so very much!!! It seems my life is centered around the dreaded SODIUM or the avoidance, thereof. This site is a tremendous help with cheese.

shambo said...

Mindy, I feel you pain. Cheese can be problematic. Along with everything mentioned in this post, you might consider looking for the Sargento brand lower sodium cheeses. They have sliced provolone and sliced pepper jack. They're both great in sandwiches.

Tim Keen said...

Thanks for the advice. I have been on a self-imposed low sodium diet for the last two years. I love cheese, but Swiss is about the only thing I have found that I can enjoy.