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Keeping Feta Fresh

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Help! I just bought some fresh feta and am not sure how to keep it fresh. Currently, it's in water - do I keep it in water? Change the water daily? Thanks.

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  1. Often feta is packed in brine/salty water and there is nothing special you need to do to keep it fresh; it will last a long time. Is yours just in plain water?

    1 Reply
    1. re: pjo

      I'm not sure, really. It's in a little plastic container and I haven't opened it yet - I assume, though that it's brine/salty walter. Thanks.

    2. I've had the same problem. I buy feta in fairly large tubs and as I use it, the level of liquid goes down - which leaves some of the cheese exposed. I believe it is packed in natural brine. Usually, I'll just make up some salt/water mixture and add to the container - and after a while if it starts to look funky I'll just replace it altogether. It seems to do the trick.

      1. What do you do feta that has been packed in plastic wrap, as they unfortunately do at the place where I usually get cheese?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Humbucker

          I've vacuum sealed feta cheese in a jar with a FoodSaver and used it over the course of a year (I bought 3lbs at Costco) and it seemed fine.

        2. It's probably packed in brine. That will keep the feta fresh, wet, and salty. No need to change the brine. It will keep forever, it's so salty.

          If you find your feta is too salty, however, you can dump the brine and soak the hunk of cheese in milk or water. That will help draw out some of the salt.

          Regarding the stuff wrapped in plastic.....you can make some brine of your own to soak it in but no guarantees as to whether it will fall apart or not. The grocery store stuff generally lacks flavor so soaking it in milk/salt might actually help improve the flavour. I highly recommend going someplace where you can taste the various fetas, choose your favorite, and take it home with brine. French feta is out of this world. Way creamier than the Greek, and less bitter. I also like the Bulgarian feta, which is a little more on the salty side. The plastic-wrapped stuff is no comparison.

          1. Redhilll farms goat feta is delicious. I store it in brine, once I take it out of the plastic wrap.

            1. The Cheese Shop in Denver sells a marinated feta in olive oil with herbs and cucumber slices that is the freshest tasting feta I've ever had. I add more olive oil at home so it won't dry out, but it never lasts past the 2nd day.

              1. This came from an interview of one of the Cowgirl Cremery gals; for all of my soft cheeses, once they are opened wrap them in wax paper and then place in a plastic bag.

                1 Reply
                1. re: rosielucchesini

                  Feta is a little different in that it's often stored in a brine. It wouldn't be happy in waxed paper and a plastic bag.

                2. Add milk and olive oil to cover it will hold in grig. for a very long time, cover with wrapp.. Feta has so much salt it so it will last ..refresh every two weeks until gone..

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Troi Frankhuizen

                    The best way to keep Feta fresh is to remove it from the original container it came in, give it a rinse in water and then place it in a tupper ware with water almost to the top of the chesses. (trust me I have been eating feta cheese everyday for breakfast for thirty some odd years)

                    1. re: barcelona

                      I have a difference of opinion on the subject and feel that you would never ever want to put feta in plain water because it leaches all the flavor out. A woman who owned a Middle Eastern store that sells feta taught me how to make brine by boiling salt in water and told me I must do this to retain the Feta's flavor. I have had feta kept in plain water and it has no flavor. Of course if you only leave it in plain water for a short time before you eat all your cheese it would not be that bad.

                      1. re: Michael K

                        It will certainly leach out the salt. If the feta didn't come with enough brine I add salted water to cover. I have had some lovely French feta that I soaked in a water/milk bath to intentionally leach out some salt. French feta is my favoirte and has a fantastic creamy milky taste of sheep/goat cheese. This flavor is really brought out when you tone down the salt. There are times I want the salt and times I want to alter it.

                        1. re: Michael K

                          You got good advice from the woman in the Middle Eastern store, although I'm not sure why iit would be necessary to boil the water. As long as the salt dissolves, which it will do fairly quickly whether you boil the water or not, you'll be fine. Ideally, you want the saltiness in the brine to be in harmony with the salt in the cheese. Too little salt, and, the flavor will depart, as you point out. Too much salt, and the cheese could become overly salty. The cheese should be entirely submerged in liquid, so more water/salt may need to be added periodically. I also smell the brine every several days. If it has taken on an off odor, I simply discard the brine and replace it with fresh salt and water.

                          For my money, I prefer authentic Greek feta, which is mostly sheep's milk. The Greek standard is at least 70% sheep's milk, with the remainder goat's milk. The Dodoni brand is good (100% sheep's milk) and is often available at Costco. The best feta available in the US, though, is Mt. Vikos barrel-aged from central Greece: 80% sheep, 20% goat. Fantastic!

                          1. re: Michael K

                            Don't forget to add a tsp of white vinegar to the salt brine as this balances out the pH.

                            1. re: Waverly2

                              Thanks for the tip on white vinegar. Has anyone else tried it before?

                      2. I was under the impression that feta was one of those cheeses that lives forever if kept in brine. The "best before" dates on the tubs are often way off in the future.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: im_nomad

                          I can assure you that is not true. It does have a long shelf life but it does start to change in flavor the older it is.