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May 2, 2006 06:18 PM

parmagiano reggiano shelf-life in fridge?

  • c

How long will it keep in the fridge once opened? What's the best way to store it so it keeps a while? Bought kind of a huge block since am always needing it at the last minute, but don't want it to dry out, or go bad...

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  1. 'Once opened'? what does that mean as it pertains to parmigiano?

    -- If this means a jar or a container of pre-grated parm, I would say read the side with the factory-printed expiration date.
    -- If you mean a block of cheese vacuum sealed in plastic, it's hard to respond to that too.

    Cheese should always be breathing. If it's nice parm, it should last you for a while; after all, it's already been aging a number of months. (At least 24, if you got some good stuff.)

    13 Replies
    1. re: Pupster

      I mean's ok, not too nice...

      1. re: cctc

        The vacuum packed Parmagiano Reggiano from Costco, at least where I live in California, is extra aged. I have to say I'd rather have the less aged as it's not so hard and dry, and I think much nicer. The very best I've had is that which I have bought in the Parma area, It's rather soft. If you squeeze the narrow part of a slice with your fingers, it crumbles. It has a really nice nutty flavor that is more intense than the aged stuff.

        1. re: Curmudgeon
          Niki Rothman

          Try TJ's Bel Gioso parm. $5.50# - rich but mellow, not harsh.

          1. re: Niki Rothman

            Not a bad product, but it's not Parmagiano Reggiano.

        2. re: cctc

          Don't buy bad cheese. Please. I cry for people who eat fake parmigiano. (It's gotta be fake if it's vacuum-packed. The only exception is if you had it air shipped from Italy.) You are depriving yourself of one of the world's great cheeses.

          Next time go to your cheesemonger and buy a smaller chunk of real parm. Hopefully, he will have different ages to taste. Find the one you like (aim for at least 12 months). Then enjoy the complexity. Did you know that parm made in different seasons taste different? That's because the cow is eating differently as the seasons change.

          1. re: Pupster

            I would, but I think this would be wasted on my toddler, who is the prime consumer of said parm...! And my husband, who grew up on the green can of dried stuff, which I refuse to purchase...

            1. re: cctc

              Never too young to be a hound. ;)

              1. re: cctc

                believe me, you arent wasting it on your kid - the quantities actually used are small, and you are building up an ability to appreciate good stuff that will last a lifetime - better to build a base of taste for good parm etc than for american processed (sweet and soft) cheese.

                1. re: jen kalb

                  Umm, it's pretty good, imported from Italy parm, just not hand-picked at the cheesemonger!

                  1. re: cctc

                    hey cool, I misread you.
                    I would just hold out for the italian stuff, reggiano or even grana padano is very acceptable as a sub.

              2. re: Pupster

                You must live in a large city because lots of people do not even live where there is a chessemonger!

                1. re: lmb

                  I do, but anyone can get very good mail order cheese from many sources.

                2. re: Pupster

                  You can get vacuum packed hunks of real parmigiano reggiano (check the rind) and other italian hard cheese at costco, and even fine italian delis. Its a great option if you are a long way away from a place that is selling fresh cuts from a wheel.

            2. Wrapped in parchment paper in the fridge, it lasts A LONG time. When mine grows a little mold, I merely cut that part off and continue using the block...not a problem. Apparently, its not good to do this (though I do) with softer cheeses, as the mold grows throughout the cheese structure once it starts, but that is not the cases with hard cheeses like parm.
              I too am a little puzzled by the term "open." How are you buying it?

              1. You can actually freeze hard cheeses like parm it to keep it for a longer period of time as long as it's vaccum packed.

                1. n
                  Niki Rothman

                  Cut your big block into approximately half pound pieces. Take one piece and chunk it, then buzz in the Cuisinart for a couple of minutes until powdery, Store in a tupperware container in the fridge - it never gets moldy and seems to stay nice and fresh tasting. The other pieces place into individual clear plastic bags and freeze until needed. If you just try to store hunks of parm. in the fridge they get moldy pretty fast.

                  1. I agree with the cut into half pound blocks and vacuum pack in the bag sucker machine...great tool. Freeze and defrost and cuisinart-it.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: ncchowdog
                      Niki Rothman

                      I don't have a bag sucker. I just use recycled supermarket produce bags with twist ties. as long as you use the cheese within like 2 months you won't get freezer burn.

                      1. re: Niki Rothman

                        Yeah, I just keep it in a zip-lock bag in the freezer. Never had
                        any problems. I've also never had any mold problems in the fridge
                        either, even after a couple of months. Also sealed in a zip-lock.

                        Still, mold on parm is just nature's way of telling you you're
                        not eating enough spaghetti.

                        1. re: Niki Rothman

                          the supermarket produce bags are poor for freezing since they are too permeable and can allow off odors to develop and moisture to enter. Ditto saran type wraps. You are better off with a couple layers of zip locks, special freezer bagsor wrap with aluminum foil or the paper the cheese comes in and then bag. Make sure you such or squeeze all the air out of the bag too before sealing.