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Jan 14, 2008 03:20 PM

Shelf life for Shredded Cheese

I bought some shredded Parmesan and blue cheese at the beginning of December. Are they still good? They were freshly grated at my gourmet food store, so I figure they have less preservatives.

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  1. Still good for many months more.

    1. i put grated cheddar and the like in the freezer. your parm should be fine.

      hounds, might not the blue get "bluer"? or slimey?

      has anyone heard of storing cheese like that in a vinegar-soaked cheesecloth in the fridge?

      1. The whole point of cheese is that it's naturally preserved.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Ruth Lafler

          ruth, with all due respect, please explain then why they go bad. i have a wedge of sheep's milk gouda from trader joe's that i haven't even opened, and it is molding!

          shredded cheddar in my fridge will get moldy. all types of cheese! should i leave it out at room temp?

          also, there is a point where camembert is no longer edible, but instead is a smelly, runny glob of yuck.
          pardon my poetic turn of phrase :-)

          1. re: alkapal

            Ruth is a bit off on this if I may say so... maybe a wrong choice of words. Cheese is not "preserved" like a mummy. The type of cheese 'grately' (get it?!) affects its shelf life, which you have alluded to. Parmigiano Reggiano will last much longer than a Camembert. As a general rule, you can follow that logic - the harder it is, the longer it will last and vice versa. Now why do they go bad? Well, no food lasts forever. It just rots or molds into oblivion.

            1. re: HaagenDazs

              I used the word "preserved" because the original poster implied that he thought cheese has preservatives -- which it doesn't. Although as HaagenDazs pointed out, nothing lasts forever (even mummies!). I sometimes get terse with people who don't know the basics about the foods they eat!

              As for the moldy cheese ... first, the mold is growing *on* the cheese, not spoilage of the cheese itself. Cut/scrape the mold off and the cheese is fine (except for fresh cheeses, which are fresh, not "preserved") -- this is impossible to do with grated cheese, though, so in that sense, it's "spoiled." Second, your cheese will acquire mold less quickly if you take it out of the plastic: moisture trapped between the cheese and the plastic is a major factor in encouraging mold growth. Chow actually has a feature on how to store cheese, if you're interested. A low-moisture cheese will keep for a very long time, even at room temp (I have a jar with some grated parmesan -- real, not the Kraft stuff -- on my desk, under bright lights, that's been sitting there for at least a month and is fine). I often leave cheese out at room temp for days, although I usually don't leave the soft-ripened ones out more than a day, as they will get a little *too* ripe. To paraphrase Melanie Wong, cheese doesn't spoil, it just changes state.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                thanks everyone! this was really helpful!!

                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  I like terseness.

                  I wrap all but soft cheeses in wax paper and leave in the fridge. The self-defrosting function gradually--if not previously consumed--dehydrates the cheeses, with older ones becoming well cured and very hard grating cheeses--changing states as Ruth says Melanie says. In this way my (not grated) cheeses last forever. I would leave the grated cheese in an uncovered container in the ref.

          2. Sliced or shredded or grated cheese is more likely to get moldy, because you have more surface area and air/moisture access. It's a lot harder to pick the moldy pieces out of a pile of shredded cheese than it is to scrape a little mold off of an intact wedge, so it is better to buy larger pieces of cheese and grate them as needed. Low-moisture cheeses like parmesan are fine in the freezer if you prefer to buy it pre-grated.