There’s a little-known product on the market that’s taking the world by storm, pleasing an increasing number of palates as word spreads. It’s not a trend and it’s not a fad, it’s here to stay.
Ready to try something new?
Here’s an idea: forget about the buzz and ignore what your family and friends are eating. Instead, consider German cuisine and traditional products from Northern Europe.
Sometimes it pays off to look beyond our own boundaries—in this case beyond our own tables. Aren’t you curious to know what’s been going on in other regions?
Turns out, other cultures rely on lesser-known foods that are making an appearance on our menus today.
One of these up-and-coming ingredients is called Quark.
Want to know the best part? Quark is both nutritious and delicious!
What is Quark?
Quark is a white substance that’s 60% – 80% water. If you showed a bowl of Quark to a group of people and asked them to describe it, we bet half would say it’s cheese and the other half would swear it’s yogurt.
So which is it?
It looks and feels like a soft cheese or a thicker-than-Greek yogurt. Some consider it a curd cheese although it’s actually smoother than, say, cottage cheese.
The official word is that Quark is a cheese, although it’s not as firm as a cream cheese or mascarpone. It’s often referred to as “white cheese” and has a consistency similar to that of sour cream. It’s not the same as fromage frais or fromage blanc—it’s in a category of its own!
Something that sets Quark apart from commercial brand cheese is that it’s made without salt, rennet, or gelatin.
Certainly, Quark is becoming more popular here in the US and in the UK; however, it’s nowhere near as well-known as the traditional cheeses we see all over our grocery stores and in our popular restaurants.
But with so many health-conscious consumers on the lookout for the greatest and tastiest products, Quark cheese is poised to take over the yogurt and cottage cheese craze.
So, go ahead and be the first on your block to bring home and enjoy the sensation called Quark.
How do you pronounce it?
The word “Quark” has several meanings.
To a physicist it means a pairing of elementary particles and it rhymes with “park.” To a designer, it’s a graphics program and most likely rhymes with “pork.”
But the Quark we’re interested in comes the German word for “curd” and is pronounced “kvahrk.”
Is Quark cheese healthy?
Given its multitude of incredibly healthy qualities, Quark is considered a superfood, making it a very smart addition to your diet.
Quark can be naturally:
- Fat free
- Salt free
- Low in calories
- High in protein
Plus it contains just a trace amount of sugar (which is natural in all dairy products).
It’s worth noting that quark is low in fat and even fat free whenit’s made with skim milk; however, when made with buttermilk or full fat milk, for example, it has the corresponding fat profile. In this sense, you can make it to suit your desired fat content.
Is Quark better for you than yogurt?
Although technically it’s not a yogurt, quark is commonly compared to thicker Greek-style yogurts. And the consensus is that Quark is the more nutritious of the two.
Still not convinced that Quark deserves a gold medal in nutrition?
We’ve broken down some facts, so take another look. Quark contains the following:
Quark nutritional data (per 100 g)
Could Quark be part of a low-FODMAP diet?
Unfortunately, many folks suffer from gastrointestinal issues that are triggered by lactose intolerance. For them, cheese is a risky business.
But get this: even those who follow a low-FODMAP diet are finding that they’re able to eat a small portion of Quark without any adverse side effects.
Um, what’s a low-FODMAP diet?
First of all, FODMAP refers to a group of fermentable carbohydrates within certain food groups (the letters stand for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides and polyols). The “D” in FODMAP signifies “disaccharides,” which are sugars or lactose that naturally form in food that’s made from milk (think cheese!).
Although a low-FODMAP is not a dairy-free diet, it does restrict the amount of lactose you ingest. For example, it may be OK to consume a small portion of cheese with a low lactose level—like (you guessed it) quark.
What is Quark’s lactose level?
With regard to lactose percentages, a food is considered “lactose-free” if it has under 0.1 g of lactose per 100 g.
How does quark measure up?
- Quark: 2.7 g
- Processed cheese: 6.3 g
- Yogurt: 3.2 g
Is Quark vegetarian?
No need for vegetarians to worry! Quark is 100% vegetarian and made without gelatin or rennet!
Is Quark made with synthetic ingredients?
Nope. You can rest easy knowing that it’s made with all natural, non-GMO ingredients. And if you make it yourself, you know exactly what’s in it.
Is Quark gluten free?
For those looking to add more gluten-free options to their diet, Quark is a superb choice; it’s 100% gluten free.
Is Quark kosher certified?
Quark is kosher certified by the Orthodox Union.
Can Quark be part of a clean-eating plan?
You’ve probably heard of “eating clean.” It’s definitely a trendy new take on a healthy lifestyle. If you don’t know what we’re talking about, let us explain.
The goal of clean eating is to become the healthiest you can possibly be through a combination of diet and exercise. If done correctly, clean eating should allow you to eat more but weigh less and overall feel like a million bucks.
The clean diet consists of a meal plan that revolves around whole, unprocessed or “real” foods. Think in-season fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, healthy fats and proteins, very little sugar, and no artificial ingredients.
Does Quark fit the bill?
You bet it does!
Quark is low calorie, high protein and has very little sugar content, which makes it a perfect fit for a clean eating plan.
Additional benefits of adding Quark to your diet
There’s more to Quark than meets the eye. As we’ve mentioned, it’s low calorie, low in lactose, has little-to-no sugar or salt, and is high in protein. But there’s still more to boast about.
Quark is a great source of calcium (a boost for your bones, hair, teeth and muscles), phosphorus (a reinforcement for cells and tissues), Vitamin A (a bonus for your immune system and vision), and Vitamin B (a support for your blood cells and nervous system). It’s also loaded with probiotics (good for your digestive health and brain function).
What does Quark taste like?
As alluring as Quark is, its taste isn’t very surprising! We think of it as somewhere between Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. It doesn’t have the tanginess of yogurt, which is good news for folks who just can’t deal with tart flavors.
For those who like something a bit sweeter, you can find Quark that has added flavor like vanilla, caramel, coconut, or various fruit tastes.
While these choices are certainly delicious, keep in mind that when flavor is added, a sweetener is usually added as well, so be sure to check the sugar levels and ingredients on the product labels.
An alternative would be to buy plain Quark (or make your own) and add flavors—such as fruit or nuts, honey or agave syrup—to your liking. That way you can better control the sugar content.
What do you make with Quark?
One of Quark’s biggest selling points is that it’s totally adaptable. One of the main reasons is that the creamy texture absorbs and retains flavors extremely well.
Of course, you can eat Quark with just a spoon or you can incorporate it into other aspects of your meals.
As people are becoming more familiar with this low-calorie, high-protein food, it’s becoming a much more common ingredient. In fact, there’s no shortage of sweet or savory recipes that incorporate quark in refreshingly creative ways.
In a blender, mix quark with frozen berries, banana, shredded coconut and almond milk. You can also use it as a base for ice cream!
Sauces or Dips
Add finely chopped herbs, salt and pepper to quark and serve with veggies and chips. You can also use it as a topping for baked potatoes.
For a chocolate mousse, in a bowl whisk (cooled) melted chocolate with quark and chill for several hours. Add cinnamon or fresh raspberries as a topping. Quark can also be used in a wide range of cake recipes (like quark cheesecake)!
For a rich tomato soup, stir in a spoonful of Quark right before serving or place a dollop of Quark on top.
So, whether you’re whipping up a stir-fry, a quiche, or a stuffed chicken dish, or if you’re perfecting a cheesecake, consider adding in this superfood. If you’re truly interested in healthy eating, rest assured that there’s no shortage of great quark recipes out there!
Thanks to its subtle taste and easy-to-manage texture, which is comparable to sour cream, versatile Quark cheese just may become your secret ingredient.
What is Quark made of?
You’re probably wondering what is Quark made of; its simplicity may surprise you.
Quark is made of heated sour (but not spoiled) milk.
Believe it or not, you can make Quark at home. You don’t even need any fancy equipment! All you really need is milk, time and patience. In fact, making Quark cheese at home is much cheaper than buying it at the store!
There are several different recipes, and you can start with whole milk, low-fat milk or even buttermilk. Sometimes the milk is heated before it curdles.
To give you an idea of how simple the steps are, here’s a recipe for making a classic German-style Quark:
- Pour milk into a bowl and add a few drops of lemon juice.
- Cover milk and let sit, unrefrigerated, overnight.
- Pour what is now sour milk into a saucepan and slowly heat it until solid “curds” form and separate from the liquid “whey.”
- Let cool and then pour into a sieve lined with cheesecloth.
- Put in the refrigerator and allow it to drip into a bowl for around 12 hours.
- Press out any extra liquid.
- What you have leftover is quark!
How do I store my homemade Quark?
You can keep your homemade Quark in a glass, ceramic or plastic container. It will keep in the refrigerator for at least 4 days.
Why haven’t I heard of Quark before?
After reading all of this interesting information on Quark, two things are probably happening.
First of all, you’re probably getting hungry!
Next, we bet you’re wondering why the heck you’ve never heard of Quark until now.
The best answer we have is that there really hasn’t been much of a marketing push when it comes to Quark. It isn’t stocked by all grocery stores, and if it is, there are usually just a few containers on the shelves.
What’s more, with the hype surrounding Greek yogurt these days, it’d be tough for any similar item to share the spotlight.
However, there are some food manufacturers who are clued in to the magic that is Quark. One of the most popular brands is Elli Quark—maybe you recognize it.
We’re willing to bet that before long we’ll be seeing quite a variety of Quark brands and blends available at your everyday grocery.
In a scenario where consumers are increasingly conscious of what they eat, this northern European product, which has so many benefits for women’s health and men’s health, can be expected to become increasingly popular.
Where can I buy Quark today?
If you don’t want to make your own Quark, you should scope out specialty shops like natural food stores, European food shops or bakeries, and farmers’ markets. There are actually plenty of places where you can buy Quark.
If you strike out at the above locales, you can source your Quark online.
Will Quark replace Greek yogurt?
For those die-hard Greek yogurt fans out there, fear not. Many consumers enjoy the tangy, “yogurty” taste of Greek yogurt, and it’s available in lots of different flavors.
And let’s not forget the fact that Quark is technically a cheese.
That being said, given Quark’s lengthy list of incredible qualities, it shouldn’t be long before Quark-fever catches on and this versatile product is on everyone’s lips.