Halloumi – What is its nutritional value?
Halloumi is the famous traditional white cheese of Cyprus. It is produced in small dairy farms with specific dairy machinery. It is a semi-hard cheese, has a rectangular or semicircular shape and is usually folded. With Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) “HALLOUMI” and “HELLIM”. According to reports, halloumi has dominated Cyprus since ancient times and specifically since 1556. While at the beginning of the 19th century halloumi was the most famous cheese produced in Cyprus. Today it is available in more than 30 countries.
How is halloumi produced?
The following raw materials are used for the production of halloumi:
- Fresh sheep or goat or a mixture thereof, with or without cow’s milk
- Rennet (excluding rennet from pig stomach)
- Additives: fresh or dried Cypriot mint leaves (Mentha viritis)
Sheep or goat or a mixture of these should always be superior in quantity to cow’s milk. That is, it is not permissible to use a larger amount of cow’s milk in the preparation of halloumi, when it is used with sheep or goat or a mixture thereof.
The aforementioned milk used for the preparation of halloumi is Cypriot and thick. The milk must be pasteurized or heated to a temperature above 65 ° C.
The organoleptic characteristics of halloumi, and especially its taste and smell, are influenced by the type of milk and in particular, by the presence of specific fatty acids that characterize the chemical composition of sheep’s and goat’s milk.
Regarding the etymology of the word there are three versions:
- That is produced from the ancient Greek word Ilmi
- That comes from the ancient Egyptians through the Coptic ialom
- That comes from the Arabic khallum
- Halloumi is also made by the Cypriot community, under the name helim.
How many types of halloumi are there?
Halloumi is prepared and available in two types, fresh and ripe.
“Fresh Halloumi” is a product made from curd that comes from the coagulation of milk with rennet. It is baked and given its characteristic shape.
“Mature Halloumi” is the product produced from curd that comes from the coagulation of milk with rennet. It is baked, given its characteristic shape and left to mature in brine (whey).
What is their difference?
The halloumi remain for 1-3 days in the whey and then packed airtight (fresh) or in bulk in containers with brine. To produce mature halloumi, halloumi must remain in brine for at least 40 days at 15-20 ° C to mature and then be airtight packed or disposed in bulk in brine containers. Fresh halloumi, until sold to the consumer, regardless of packaging, is kept at a temperature below 7 ° C, while ripe halloumi is usually kept in brine in a cool place.
Halloumi: What is its nutritional value?
Halloumi is characterized by the Cypriot citizen for two nutrients! Its increased content of salt and fat! That’s why it’s just as delicious! So let’s look in more detail (on average) the macronutrients and micronutrients of the traditional halloumi with sheep and goat milk.
A halloumi weighs an average of 150-350 gr, without ruling out finding halloumi in larger quantities!
Is there a low fat halloumi?
Low fat halloumi is also available in the market! But what is the difference compared to the traditional halloumi? For its preparation, therefore, mainly cow’s milk is used and less amount of sheep and goat. It is reduced by 30% in fat. Let’s see in more detail its composition in the main macronutrients and micronutrients.
Halloumi and health benefit – Calcium… for strong bones!
Calcium should be taken daily from the diet in sufficient quantity to develop and maintain bone mass! The recommended daily intake of calcium ranges from 1000-1500mg depending on gender, age and health status. For example, a pregnant woman clearly needs more calcium than a non-pregnant woman. A moderate slice of halloumi (30g) therefore covers 8-17% of the daily needs for calcium.
Protein… for muscle mass!
Protein is one of the 3 main macronutrients. Known for maintaining and developing muscle mass!
“Halloumi is considered a very good source of protein intake as each 30g of product provide 7g of protein, as well as 30g of cooked chicken! Only the halloumi is increased in fat while the chicken is not!”
Finally, we could say that halloumi can also help people who are hypotensive. Due to its increased salt content people who have low blood pressure may notice an improvement!
But be careful! In order not to end up overcoming the “bad” characteristics of halloumi (salt, fat) it should be consumed in a balanced diet 2-3 times a week 1-2 medium slices (30g) and probably twice the amount of low-fat halloumi. (Quantity is always needed based on the medical history of each individual).