Cottage cheese may be eaten straight. It is also eaten with fruit, with fruit puree, on toast, in green salads, - or as an ingredient in recipes like jello salad and various desserts. It can be used to replace grated cheese or ricotta cheese in most recipes (such as lasagna).
The term "cottage cheese" is believed to have originated because the simple cheese was usually made in cottages from any milk leftover after making butter. The term was first used in 1848. An older term for cottage cheese is curds and whey.
The curd size is the size of the "chunks" in the cottage cheese. The two major types of cottage cheese are small curd, high-acid cheese made without rennet, and popular large curd, low-acid cheese made with rennet. Rennet is an enzyme that speeds curdling and keeps the curd that forms from breaking up; adding it shortens the cheesemaking process, resulting in a lower acid and larger curd cheese, and reduces the amount of curd poured off with leftover liquid (the whey). Sometimes large curd cottage cheese is called "chunk style."
A 4 oz (113 g) serving has approximately 120 calories, 5 g fat (3 g saturated), 3 g carbohydrates, and 14 g protein. It also contains approximately 500 mg sodium, and 20 mg cholesterol.
Manufacturers also produce low-fat and non fat varieties. A fat-free kind of a similar serving size has 80 calories, 0g fat (0g saturated), 6g carbohydrates, and 14g protein. To compensate for the flavor missing from the fat, low-fat and non-fat ones tend to have more sugar in them. Very low sodium varieties are also produced, which can be salted to taste.