"Canned Cheese?!? That's gross, and cool, at the same time." - Calvin
How to do it. . .
1. Get wide mouth pint jars - be sure they're clean and dry - put them in the oven on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes at 200 degrees to sterilize them.
2. Boil lids and rings.
3. Grate any kind of cheese (cheese that gets better with age is best, like cheddar. Monterey Jack or Colby will work but won't last as long, so use the freshest date possible). Do not use pregrated cheese from the store (they coat it with something to keep it from molding quickly), buy a horn of cheese and grate it yourself. (44 lb block of cheese = 48 jars of cheese, or about 1 lb per pint jar).
4. Place grated cheese in jars - Pack it in well (you can press it down with a glass or bottle), and place in pan of water (3-4" deep). Water should be no higher than 2/3 to the top of jar. You don't really want water to get into the jars - it won't necessarily ruin it, but it's better without any.
5. Boil water and add more cheese as needed to fill jar to 1 inch from top (if you've pressed it down well, you shouldn't have to add any).
6. Melt cheese completely (15-20 minutes). With the flat of a butter knife, press the edges down, to move the center cheese out and get the entire jar melted. You don't really want to stir it, as that will allow air bubbles to enter - the idea is to get the air bubbles out, and get the entire jar evenly melted. Also, try not to get any cheese on the lip of the jar.
7. Remove canning jar from the pot and place the lid and ring on, then hand tighten.
8. Set aside until you have enough jars ready to place in steamer. (Add 2 T. vinegar to the water in your steamer, it will keep the calcification from the water off the jars.)
9. Place jars in steamer and steam for 40 minutes. "Do NOT shorten the time."
10. When you remove the jars from the steamer, turn them upside down on towel, and let them cool with the cheese touching the lid and the 1" gap at the bottom. This will make cheese removal easier when you are ready to use it!
11. Let cool and store at 75 degrees.
This is not a cheese sauce. It is like a lump of cheese. There is a slight texture difference, kind of grainy. It can be grated, eaten plain, or melted in recipes just like cheese from your refrigerator.
Cheddar has a shelf life of 3-5 years.
Thanks Roxy for the awesome class!