Cougar Gold cheese is a natural, unprocessed and white cheddar cheese. It is known for its nutty flavor and for its long-lasting quality. It does not turn bitter as it ages, and, according to some claims, can remain edible for as long as 30 years if it is appropriately stored.
This American cheese is made at and shipped throughout the United States from the creamery at Washington State University. The production, marketing and selling is mostly done by university students. The Washington State University creamery has been producing different types of cheeses since the 1940s. Aside from the Cougar Gold cheese, some of the cheeses made there are American Cheddar, Smoky Cheddar, Viking, Dill Garlic, Sweet Basil, Hot Pepper and Crimson Fire. The Washington State cheeses have won many national and international awards over the years.
The Cougar Gold cheese gets its name from the Washington State University's mascot, the cougar, and from Dr. N.S. Golding, the food scientist at the university who helped develop the cheese. Dr. Golding, who was funded in his research by the United States government and the American Can Company, found a cheese making process that allowed the cheese to age without emitting any gases, making the cheese suitable for canning. This was an important concern in the 1940s, when this research was carried out, as other forms of packaging were not well-developed and the cheese had to remain in good condition for shipping and retail.
An unopened can of Cougar Gold cheese can be stored indefinitely, and actually becomes more flavorful as it ages. To ensure that the cheese lasts long after a can has been opened, it is advisable to remove the cheese from the opened can, cut the cheese into small pieces and store them in an airtight container in a dry, cool place.
The Cougar Gold cheese should not be exposed to a high temperature and neither should it be refrigerated too long as both of these things can undermine the quality of the cheese, particularly its texture, moisture content and flavor. Freezing the cheese can cause it to harden and then it can be rather difficult to cut. If the cheese can has been stored in a refrigerator, the cheese should be allowed to return to room temperature before it is sliced. The cheese will usually crumble as it is cut. This is entirely normal for natural, unprocessed cheeses.