Monterey Jack

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Monterey Jack
Vella Cheese Young Jack.jpg
Country of originUnited States
Commons page Related media on Wikimedia Commons

Monterey Jack, sometimes shortened to Jack, is an American semi-hard cheese, customarily white,[1] made using cow's milk. It is commonly marbled with Colby to produce Colby-Jack (or Co-Jack)[2] or with yellow cheddar to produce Cheddar-Jack. Pepper Jack is flavored with chili peppers and herbs, while Dry Jack is an aged, hard cheese suitable for grating.[citation needed]


In its earliest form, Monterey Jack was made by 18th-century Franciscan friars of Monterey, Alta California.[3] California businessman David Jack sold the cheese commercially. He produced a mild white cheese that came to be known eponymously as "Jack's Cheese" and eventually "Monterey Jack".[4] Other ranchers in the area likewise produced the cheese, among them Andrew Molera, who built a successful dairy operation in Big Sur and whose Monterey Jack was especially well regarded.[5]

The term is commonly misspelled as "Monterrey Jack," presumably due to confusion with the Mexican city of Monterrey.[citation needed]


Although most of the softer varieties found in American supermarkets are aged for only one month, Dry Jack is a harder variety aged for up to six months.[6]


A wedge of Dry Jack cheese, shown with plums, pomegranate and roasted almonds

Dry Jack[edit]

Dry Jack was created by accident in 1915, when a San Francisco wholesaler forgot about a number of wheels of fresh Jack he had stored.[7] As World War I intensified and shipments of hard cheese from Europe were interrupted, he rediscovered the wheels, which had aged into a product his customers found to be a good substitute for classic hard cheeses like Parmesan.[7][8]

Pepper Jack[edit]

Pepper Jack is a derivative of Monterey Jack flavored with spicy chili peppers, bell peppers, and herbs.[9] Garlic- and pesto-flavored versions also exist.[citation needed]


Because of its low content of tyramine, an organic compound thought to be associated with headaches, Monterey Jack is frequently recommended as one of the few cheeses that is safe to eat for migraine sufferers.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Brown, Robert Carlton. "The Complete Book of Cheese, Chapter 4: "American Cheddars". Gramercy Publishing Company: New York. Monterey Jack is a stirred curd Cheddar without any annatto coloring. It is sweeter than most and milder when young
  2. ^ Wisconsin Cheese: Colby-Monterey Jack. Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
  3. ^ FWx (ed.). "The Tragic Way Monterey Jack Cheese Got Its Name". Food & Wine. In 1769, Spanish Franciscan Father Junipero Serra ... founded the first California Catholic mission in present-day San Diego. A year later, the second mission was founded at Monterey Bay
  4. ^ Feldman, David (2006). Why do Pirates Love Parrots? An Imponderables Books. New York: Collins. pp. 53–55. ISBN 0-06-088842-3.
  5. ^ McKinney, John (1 July 1990). "History Meets Nature Along This Big Sur Walk". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 12 May 2018.
  6. ^ Fabricant, Florence (May 10, 2000). "The Riches of Spain: Its Cheese; A New Appetite In America". Mahon, a cow's milk cheese from the island of Menorca, with an orange rind, has the kind of nuttiness with buttery overtones you might associate with aged Monterey Jack and is good used just the same way.
  7. ^ a b Sarah Koops Vanderveen, Special to The Chronicle (1995-09-27). "Dry Monterey Jack Cheese: What's Old Is New Again - SFGate". Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  8. ^ "Dry Jack". Retrieved 2015-02-26.
  9. ^ "Pepper Jack". Retrieved 24 December 2016.
  10. ^ "Headaches from Food: The Connection". 2005-03-29. Retrieved 2015-02-26.

External links[edit]