When life hands you lemons…

Make ricotta!





1.5 gallons of fresh whole milk

6-8 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

sea or kosher salt to taste

cheese cloth or flour sack (I like flour sacks)

stainless steel or plastic collander

Stainless steel or plastic bowl (LARGE, to sit under colander)

non-reactive pot (stainless steel)

stainless steel or non-reactive spoon/spatula


Heat milk slowly on low/low-medium to 190-195 degrees stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and add and lemon juice.  Stir to incorporate. You should see the curd immediately start to separate from the whey. If not, add more lemon juice 1 Tablespoon at a time until it separates. Allow to sit undisturbed for 10-15 minutes or more. Slowly pour into a cheesecloth or flour sack lined colander. Allow whey to drain for 30 minutes to an hour or so. You don’t have to wring up the cloth to get the whey out but you can. You can hang the cloth for the whey to drain but my set up for cheese keeps my colander out of the whey liquid.

The longer you let it sit and drain, the dryer your cheese will get. I don’t like it let it drain longer than an hour, I want some of the whey in it. When I am ready to move it to the storage container, I mix in salt to taste. Store in sealed container for up to 7-8 days in the fridge.  Don’t throw out the whey!

I generally give it to the pigs & chickens but some people will make another cheese from it (ricotta actually is made from whey when it’s not whole milk cheese) but you can also make a refreshing zingy lemonade from it, use it to cook pasta in, make bread with it (it’s sad whey is somewhat of a natural preservative!), etc. etc. etc.

As a side note, this can also be made with citric acid (which can be cheaper than lemons depending on your locale or time of the year). Dissolve 2 tsps. of food grade citric acid in 1 cup of cool water. Add 3/4 cup of the mixture to the milk at 160-165 degrees and allow to come up to 190-195. Follow same instructions as above. If you do not see the curds beginning to separate at 185 degrees or so, add in the remaining 1/4 cup.

Happy ricotta-ing!

2 Comments to “When life hands you lemons…”

  1. wow, I never heard of it before! I must try!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: