Monterey Jack cheese, named for the coastal city of Monterey in California, is a mild cow’s milk cheese that can be used as the foundation of many dishes such as grilled cheese sandwiches or charcuterie boards. With such an adaptable taste and mild aroma, this versatile cheese deserves its place among cheese lovers everywhere!
Cheese is often produced in wheels that have been coated with oil to prevent drying out as the rind develops. It may also be aged for up to 10 months, producing a firmer and drier variety known as Dry Jack.
Monterey Jack cheeses vary in color, texture and taste depending on the type of cheese they are made from. Generally white in hue and with a mild flavor profile, Monterey Jack can also be flavored with jalapeo peppers, garlic, herbs or spices to achieve an entirely unique profile.
Monterey Jack cheese comes in many variations, such as herbed Jack or pepper Jack. These cheeses are created by mixing mild American cheeses like Colby or yellow cheddar with the classic Jack before aging it. You can enjoy these cheeses on their own or pair them with wines and drinks to enhance the flavors even further.
Herbed Jacks are made by infusing cheese with herbs and spices such as basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary. These mild cheeses may also be blended with other mild cheeses to create more complex combinations.
Pepper Jacks are similar to herbed Jacks but are flavored with spicy chili peppers, bell peppers, and herbs. Enjoy them on their own or melt them into quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches for a flavorful twist!
Monterey Jack cheese can be enjoyed in various variations, such as herbed Jacks. These are created by marbling mild American-style cheese like Colby with the traditional Monterey Jack and then aging them. These tasty morsels can be eaten alone or melted into sandwiches for a melty-cheese treat.
Monterey Jack cheeses come in various varieties, with dry Jack being one of the more sought-after aged versions that may be hard to locate outside California. This firm, gratable cheese has a stronger taste than younger varieties and may require age for storage.
Dry Jacks can be found in grocery stores and specialty cheese shops nationwide, though they tend to be more expensive than their cheaper counterparts due to the longer aging times needed to develop their full flavors, making them harder to produce.
Dry Jack has less moisture than high-moisture Monterey Jack, meaning it will stay fresh longer in the refrigerator. It can be stored up to three weeks and used in recipes calling for melted cheese.
For cheese lovers looking to add subtle differences without altering the taste, cross-breeding is a great option.
Monterey Jack cheese has many stories about its creation, but one of the most intriguing is that it was a businessman from Monterey who popularized it. David Jacks took control of land once owned by Spanish missionaries in California’s 1700s and began marketing Monterey Jack around the nation with help from Dona Boronda – renowned for her delicious queso de pais recipe.