Cottage cheese is a cheese curd product with a mild flavor. It is drained, but not pressed, so some whey remains and the individual curds remain loose. The curd is usually washed to remove acidity, giving sweet curd cheese. It is not aged or colored. Different styles of cottage cheese are made from milks with different fat levels and in small-curd or large-curd preparations. Cottage cheese which is pressed becomeshoop cheese, farmer cheese, pot cheese, paneer or queso blanco.
Cottage cheese can be eaten by itself, with fruit and sugar, with fruit puree, on toast, with tomatoes, in salads, or used as an ingredient inrecipes such as lasagna, jello salad and various desserts. Cottage cheese with fruit such as pears or peaches is a standard side dish in many "home cooking" or meat-and-three restaurants' menus.
The term "cottage cheese" is believed to have originated because the simple cheese was usually made in cottages from any milk left over after making butter. The term was first used in 1848. The curds and whey of nursery rhyme fame is another dish made from curds with whey, but it is uncertain what their consistency was, if they were drained at all or how they were curdled (which affects the flavor). Some writers claim they are equivalent or similar.