Q. Does the term “longhorn” for a cheese refer to the type of cheese it is or the cow it comes from? — M.W.
A. The term “longhorn” really doesn’t refer to either of these. It is made from cow’s milk, rather than sheep or goat. But the type of cheese is usually a mild Colby or cheddar. The term “longhorn” refers to a cylindrical shaped mold in which it is made, which produces a cheese that is 13 pounds and is 1 and 1/2 feet long. When the cheese has aged its proper amount, it then is cut into rounds or half-moon shapes to be sold.
As an aside: White cheddar cheese is becoming more popular, but many Americans are most familiar with the orange color, which comes from additives.
From Wikipedia: “One commonly used example (of the coloring substance) is annatto, extracted from seeds of the tropical achiote tree. The largest producer of industrial cheddar-style cheese in the United States, Kraft, uses a combination of annatto and oleoresin paprika, an extract of the lipophilic (oily) portion of paprika.”