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How to keep cheese in refrig from being moldy?

  • luuuu Feb 14, 2007 09:01 AM

No matter how tight the ziplock bag I put the cheese into, some of them (cheddar, mozzarella, blue cheese) still go moldy, why?????????

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  1. Unless you use one of those food-saver machines that shrink wrap cheese in order to get *all* the air out, they will get moldy. I have found that wrapping them in wax paper rather than plastic wrap helps to keep them fresh longer. Also, when the cheese starts to show mold, instead of immediately disgarding the entire chunk, I slice off the moldy portion to get to the untainted part and continue to use it.

    1. This has worked for me - put your cheese in a ziploc bag (doesn't have to be *exactly* ziploc brand) with a paper towel soaked in white vinegar. When you open the bag, you will get a whiff of vinegar, but the odor doesn't impart to the cheese. I read about this in a kitchen tips board, and it has always worked as-promised for me. In fact, when I feel like the smell of the vinegar has faded, I re-soak the paper towel.

      Also, you can cut off the moldy part of cheese and still eat it. That's what they say in the food network tips.

      1. they'll last a bit longer if wax papered or very tightly saran wrapped rather than baggied-- and yes, just try to buy smaller hunks of cheese and use them faster, and you can cut off the mold and eat the rest of the cheese anyway, the mold is natural, after all; naturally cultured cheese is just "off-milk and mold". be much more worried about the cheeses you keep for weeks that DON'T get moldy.

        1 Reply
        1. re: soupkitten

          heh - i found a few individually wrapped slices of some american processed no-fat cheese lurking in the bottom of my bin and they have to have been there for 5-6 mos. a little hard around the edges, but no mold.

          ewwww. or i suppose yum if you're a starving college student. ;)

        2. I usually use saran wrap and then foil - I keep mine in the meat drawer (no meat there) and line the drawer with paper towels. Rarely have a problem..

          1. The proper answer- buy as much cheese as you would resonably eat in a couple of days. This way, it won't have a chance to go bad.

            And the vinegar idea? Wretched, sorry. Don't do that to your cheese.

            But yes, you can trim off the moldy bits, no problem.

            4 Replies
            1. re: cheesemonger

              Vinegar works.

              1. re: xnyorkr

                I'm curious, what type of cheese do you do this to? There's no way that the vinegar won't infect the cheese, especialy something delicate and lovely.

                1. re: cheesemonger

                  I've done it with gorganzola, parmesan, can't remember the name of the others. Everything I ever get. I have something now from Costco with cranberries in it. I don't really like it, but it's not getting mouldy (smile). The delicate (soft) cheeses don't last long enough to worry about in my house (another smile).

              2. re: cheesemonger

                A suggested technique for ridding hard rinded cheese of mold while its aging is to scrub the rind in vinegar with an optional addition of kosher salt. I do it with my homemade cheese all the time and there is no problem - no off tastes.

                Also - this is rather strange and anecdotal, I admit - I have a little glass box that I picked up at an antique mart that claims to be a "cheese keeper". It is clear glass, with 1/2 inch high ridges in the bottom. On top, it says you are supposed to pour a small amount of vinegar in, then rest the cheese on the ridges (so it is not sitting in the vinegar). The purpose is to retard mold growth.

              3. Cheese rarely lasts long enough around here to get moldy. But if it does, you just cut it off. The rest of the cheese is still fine.

                The only exception is if I buy a bag of pre-shredded cheese, like for a pizza. If I open a bag of that and get a whiff of mold, the whole bag goes out.

                1. 'Hounds, would the temp of the frig play a role in moldy cheese?

                  1. Waxed paper bags have become a staple in my house: that, placed in the "cheese box" of the refrig keep the cheese ready to eat for weeks at a time. Softer cheeses can be a toughter. And remember, if the mold is orange or redish - TOSS IT.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Marcharlan

                      I have not heard that about orange or red mould. What does it mean?

                      1. re: xnyorkr

                        It can be bacterial, or it can be a variety of slime mold.

                        1. re: xnyorkr

                          though there are some cheeses that encourage b. linens to grow (epoisses and munster are good examples) where you WANT it orange. But b. linens is a bacteria, and it should be orange when you buy the cheese.

                      2. Orange or redish mold, as I have been told, is a sign of nasty things growing in the food. It should not be eaten. Then again it is not seen nearly as often as green mold.

                        But, as there are serious food safety issues being presented here, I reccomend that research be undertaken before any questionable food is consumed. "When in doubt, throw it out..."

                        1. What's wrong with cheese mold?

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                            Its not mold generally that I personall concern myself with - if its the white or green fuzzy stuff. But when its red or orange stay away. Indeed, I lost a really nice goat cheddar recently to this malady.

                            (Disclaimer remains, however, just because Im going to eat moldy food does not mean that I am reccomending it.)

                            1. re: Marcharlan

                              100% agreement about the "pink mold" as I call it. I always advise customers to skin the dark or white molds, but toss the pink molds (which are particulary fond of goat's cheeses).

                              1. re: cheesemonger

                                Monger, I let my cheese evolve in the ref. The temperature and self-defrosting capacity means that cheeses never mold, but softer ones will get hard(er) and more concentrarted over time. I have what started as a local mozarella and is now a grating cheese that I have to use the Black & Decker floor sander on.

                          2. When I asked about this at a cheese counter, I was told "Cheese IS mold. Just cut off the moldy part, and eat the rest."

                            I wrap hard cheese in waxed paper, then slip them in a plastic ziploc bag, pressing out some air. They seem to keep pretty well this way, enough that I can keep them a week at least. Some keep longer, but most are eaten by then. I only buy small amounts, as much as possible, as I don't have a food saver.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: amyzan

                              Well, technically, cheese certainly is NOT mold, but the mold can certainly be trimmed off if it hasn't totally invaded the interior of the cheese.

                            2. If it is a waxed cheese, butter the cut part and keep it in the fridge...

                              1. I always wrap cheese in Saran Wrap and then place in a freezer ZipLoc. Regular baggies are too thin, and allow air to get in.

                                It is best not to buy too much at one time. If you buy small pieces, you won't have as much spoilage. Don't be embarrassed to ask for only 1/4 lb of Gorgonzola or Gruyere.

                                1. Don't touch the cheese with your hands - handle it through paper or something. Your hands dump bacteria on there that speed up the mold process.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: piccola

                                    washing your hands before touching the cheese would be easier wouldn't it?

                                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                                      For years, I have always washed my hands before handling food, and I would still have moldy cheese on occasion, until I read about the No Touch Cheese rule. So now, we don't touch the cheese with bare fingers (unless we know it'll be eaten in the next few days), and we never have moldy cheese anymore.

                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                        I think it has to do with your skin's natural oils more than anything. In any case, anecdotal evidence supports my theory.

                                    2. If you're serious about cheese, Murray's Cheese sells paper, which I do find to prolong the life of any good cheeses I buy from them (which is lots, as I live in NYC):

                                      http://murrayscheese.com/

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: bebevonbernstein

                                        Thanks for the tip. I get my Cheese at Murray's, too. I had no idea they sell the special wrapping paper.

                                        I do, however always keep my Cheese wrapped in the paper it comes in.

                                        Have you tried their Petit Billy? It is a fresh Chevre from France that is divine. I either serve it plain, with Lavender Honey drizzled over it, or as I had it in Nice, at LA MERENDA, my favorite Nicois restaurant. Pat the fresh Chevre dry, and coat completely with Herbes de Provence. Wrap in Cheesecloth , then in paper. Store in the fridge for a few days.

                                        When ready to serve, cut in two or four pieces and place on a plate with dressed Mesclun. Spoon good EVOO on top, and serve as a first course or light lunch.

                                      2. Best tip I ever got from an Emeril episode - wrap blue cheese in tin foil. It never "perspires" and stays good for weeks in the fridge.

                                        1. wow, lots of great tips here! I hope I'm not repeating anyone or stating the obvious when I say - keep your bleu cheeses far far away from your other cheeses, especially mild ones like brie... I kept a super stinky bleu cheese in close proximity to my other cheeses and I swear, they all started to taste like bleu cheese. I also blame the bleu cheese for making my brie turn an odd shade of green after only 2-3 days.

                                          1. softer cheeses don't last as long as harder cheeses. if you have a continuing problem, buy smaller pieces. don't be afraid to ask your market to cut the pieces if you buy pre-wrapped.

                                            1. I wrap softer cheeses in a paper towel, then put in a ziploc bag. Change the paper towel everytime I cut a piece from the cheese.

                                              1. Fleur, Fairway in Red Hook (not sure about the others, but assume you're in Bklyn anyway since you post to Outer Boroughs board) has an unbelievable raw milk manchego in olive oil. I got the last piece when I was there two weeks ago, but they might have gotten some more in.