*written by Andrew Akhaphong, Mackenthun’s Fine Foods Registered & Licensed Dietitian; Cecelia Schmidt, Dietetic Intern University of Michigan
Sweet dreams are made of cheese, and so are cottages! Your Dietitian’s Choice this week is Old Home® Cottage Cheese for $4.49 each on select varieties.

What is Cottage Cheese?

Cottage cheese comes from cow’s milk; it is created by adding an acid to the milk, such as vinegar, lemon juice, or even a bacteria culture that produces lactic acid during digestion of lactose (milk sugar). This results in the curds separating from the whey (remember the Little Miss Muffet rhyme?). After the curds are formed, cut into pieces to further separate the whey from the curds, rinsed, and may have salt and other flavorings or additives added. According to the California Dairy Council, it is thought that cottage cheese is one of the first cheeses to be made in America by immigrants around the mid 1800s.

Furthermore, historical records claim that cottage cheese was “accidentally discovered” by a 3rd Century BC Mesopotamian (modern day Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, Syria) traveler. He packed milk in his sheep stomach bags and when he wanted to take a drink they were curdled! The travel through the desert  heat and the sloshing interacted with an enzyme called rennet from the sheep stomach that curdled the milk!

Variety of Curd Sizes

Although cottage cheese can be made with acids, it can also be made with rennet. Rennet is an enzyme found in the stomach of ruminant animals like sheep and cow. Modern day technology has also allowed us to obtain vegetarian sources of rennet to mimic its coagulating and separating effects of milk. Sources of vegetarian rennet include figs, artichoke, dried caper leaves, thistle, and nettle. When rennet is used instead of acid, the milk curdles faster which results in large curdles. If acid used, the milk curdles slower causing smaller curds. Using rennet also reduces the acidity of cottage cheese, making the cottage cheese product taste sweeter.

Nutritional Benefits

Cottage cheese is a great choice when searching for a filling and nourishing snack! Packed with protein, cottage cheese is a very fulfilling option to help you feel full and satisfied. In addition, proteins are made of amino acids, which the body can use to preserve muscle mass and make hormones and enzymes. Amino acids are also used to build antibodies, which are proteins produced in the immune system that protect the body against unwanted substances.

As a dairy product, cottage cheese is full of many vitamins and minerals essential for health! Phosphorus is used as a building block in things like cell membranes and DNA, while Vitamin B12 is a key player in developing brain and nerve cells. Cottage cheese is also a good source of calcium, which helps muscles contract and regulates heart rhythms and nerve functions. 

Pumpkin Whipped Cottage Cheese

By Kate of Babaganoush; October 18, 2020



  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • ¾ teaspoon pumpkin spice or up to 1 teaspoon, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey, or more to taste
  • Optional toppings, see notes


  • Combine all the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Serve immediately, topping with toppings of your choice, or chill and enjoy within 2 days.


  • Do not use a high powered blender! It will turn the cottage cheese into a liquid instead of into a smooth creamy, fluffy cottage cheese! I use a this small food processor and it’s perfect for this recipe.
  • Use any kind of cottage cheese you like! I prefer fat-free, unsalted cottage cheese
  • Chill your pumpkin puree in the fridge for a colder treat. Or freeze some in an ice cube tray! If using frozen pumpkin, puree the pumpkin first before adding cottage cheese, to make sure you don’t have any ice chunks!
  • Start with less pumpkin if you are not sure you like pumpkin flavor that much. I found that 2:1 cottage cheese:pumpkin ratio was perfect for me!
  • Use honey, maple syrup, agave syrup, or brown sugar, or a keto-approved sweetener for a low carb pumpkin dessert
  • Topping ideas: whipped cream, pepitas (pumpkin seeds)hemp heartsshredded coconut, mini chocolate chips or chocolate shavings, crushed pecans, candied pecans