Cheese curds are little known in locations without cheese factories because they should ideally be eaten within hours of manufacture. Their flavor is mild, with about the same firmness as cheese, but with a springy or rubbery texture. Fresh curds squeak against the teeth when bitten into, a defining characteristic due to air trapped inside the porous material. This "squeak" has been described by the New York Times as sounding like "balloons trying to neck". After 12 hours, even under refrigeration, they lose much of their "fresh" characteristic, particularly the "squeak". Keeping them at room temperature can preserve the squeakiness.
The curds have a mild flavor and are sometimes somewhat salty. The American variety is usually yellow or orange, like most American Cheddar cheese, but doesn't require the artificial coloring. Other varieties, as in Ontario, Quebec, Vermont, or New York State, may be naturally un-colored.