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Apr 21, 2008 05:01 PM

Moldy Parmigiano Reggiano

Can I eat it if I scrape the mold off?

Good tips on how to store in the future?

ETA: Parmigiano Reggiano

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  1. I would just scrape it off and eat it. I store mine in foil in the fridge, though that may be heresy.

    19 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Thanks MMRuth.

      At the risk of being snarky to Devotay and the dude who is having a conniption about the additives in processed food, I wonder if one or two preservatives would have prevented the mold growth.

      Just thinking.

      1. re: filth

        I've missed whatever the thread is to which you are referring, and preservatives might prevent mold growth, but to my knowledge "true" parmesan does not have preservatives (and nor would I want it to). Of all of the many cheeses we eat and store, parmesan is one of the few on which I've never seen mold, even after being stored for ages in the fridge.

        1. re: MMRuth

          I recently discovered quite a bit of mold on some parmesan (not reggiano, but Queso Parmesano from Uruguay), which we'd thrown it in our wine fridge in November and forgotten about it. It probably would have lasted in the regular fridge.

          1. re: Megiac

            Yeah, the wine fridge is a lot warmer, after all!

        2. re: filth

          Preservatives in Parmigiano Reggiano? Now that's heresy!
          I store mine wrapped loosely in paper towel and then inside a ziploc. I've never had mold on my Parmigiano.

        3. re: MMRuth

          Since being in Europe, my general standards regarding sanitation has been lowered to levels that horrorify my friends and family back home in the States.

          In my in-laws house in Spain, there are always large quantities and varieties of cheeses and dried sausages in the fridge. Everyone here just scrapes off the mold--and yes, it is mold, white, blue and green specs of mold--and then proceeds to eat it like nothing happened. They do this with sauages too (only the cured-kind like salamis, however), although sometime they don't even bother to do that with the sausages! Like there is obviously mold on the casting of the sausage and there is no attempted to peel that off.

          That use to disgust me but I have since bowed to peer pressure and now freely eat mold, although the inner voice inside still screams in protest. But I still wonder if it is actually ok to do this. Am I just playing Russian roulette with moldy sausages?

          1. re: mielimato

            It is perfectly safe to scrape mold off cheese and cured sausage. I can't say that I've had to do it often, but it doesn't worry me at all when I do.

            1. re: mielimato

              now you've been inoculated against who knows what! ;-)

              1. re: alkapal

                Indeed! Against moldy meat germs! :-)

                But seriously, although I have never gotten sick and still continue to eat it, I can't imagine that from a medical standpoint consuming moldy meat does not somehow increase my chances of getting sick.

                1. re: mielimato

                  I think most molds are harmless -- that's why they've been part of the process of curing meats and making cheese for thousands of years. And of course, as noted by alkapal, some molds -- most notably the one that produces penicillin -- are actually antibacterial. Even before people knew about penicillin per se, they were using moldy bread on wounds to prevent infection. So there's no reason to believe that consuming moldy meat will increase your chances of getting sick.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    I don't think it is so obvious that one can freely eat moldy meat without reservation. I agree that most bacteria are harmless and that general exposure to bacteria can be helpful towards immunization against common germs, as alkapal notes. But eating moldy food is not necessarily the same thing. Penicillin, while derivative of substances found in mold, is not the same thing as mold. I can guarantee you that rubbing moldy bread on an opened wound will lead to infections.

                    In fact, we refrigerate, seal and wrap foods to retard the growth of bacteria and mold. We do this in part because mold may alter the taste of food but also in part because the consumption of mold may increase the likelihood of illness. So I think there are a lot of reasons to believe that eating moldy meat is risky.

                    1. re: mielimato

                      well, i am certainly not going to eat moldy meat. but expert hounds out there, don't some smoked meats get a little mold? like virginia hams, prosciutto, etc.? i guess it would be different situations if on the rind vs. the muscular flesh....

                      1. re: alkapal

                        we did a salt cured VA ham once and I dug the instructions that after soaking a few days in the sink to "scrape the mold" good, but waaay too salty for me.

                        cheese: it is by definition rancid milk and rennet to begin with and only gets tastier.

                      2. re: mielimato

                        Mold and bacteria are two very different things. Mold is a kind of fungus. Certain molds may contain toxins (some with fun effects, some harmful). If the food is not porous, the toxins most likely have not permeated the outer layer.

                        1. re: mojoeater

                          Right. Also, mold can't live/travel in your bloodstream like bacteria, so you can't get an infection from rubbing it on a cut. The only infections you can get from mold are respiratory infections from breathing mold spores into your lungs -- then toxins produced in your lungs can get into your blood stream.

                        2. re: mielimato

                          My general point is that mold on food, particularly meat, is probably a sign that the meat has spoiled. If there is mold on food, it is likely to be accompanied by other no so good things like bacteria. So if the mold does not get you, something associated with mold growth will. Or at least, the consumption of moldy meat can increase the risk of something bad happening, which in my opinion should not be too controversial of a statement.

                          I think the difference between porous and nonporous meat is a good one. When my in-laws make sausages, we toss out the “wet” sausages when mold is visible. But mold on cured sausages, especially if it is only on the casting, is fine. Since the cured sausages go through a long process of drying, it is a lot less porous and is dense enough to keep out bacteria growth.

                          1. re: mielimato

                            ever heard of dry aged? mold does gro on the meat, it is safe, but it is cut off before eating. have no worries

                            1. re: SiksElement

                              I have heard of it, thank you. But dry aging occurs under highly controlled environments--temperature and humidy are kept within a prescribed range. Whereas I will buy dry aged meat from a reputable store, I will probably throw out moldy steak that I find in my fridge. Not all mold can be safely consumed. My friend was briefly hospitalized for eating moldy bread so I don't think the answer is that simple...

                  2. re: MMRuth

                    foil= bad. cheeses are alive too and need to breath. that will actually cause it to go bad quicker. parchment paper is the way to go. if its a soft ripened cheese rather than the parm, bruch the parchment with olive oil to prevent it from sticking

                  3. The original comment has been removed
                    1. I guess there are some exceptions for fresh cheeses, but for most cheeses it's perfectly okay to just cut/scrape the mold off. As for storage, since, like MMRuth, I've never seen mold on ungrated parmesan, how were you storing it before? Also, are you sure it's mold? Sometimes -- especially if I leave it out -- my parm gets white splotches that are just crystals formed when it dries out a little, not mold.

                      1. I had it in the fridge in a ziplock bag. It looks like mold to me. I'll scrape it off and proceeed.

                        Many thanks for the advice.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: filth

                          plastic is ok, but this type of cheese has a tendency to sweat and needs to be kept dry. if it stays in plastic long enough, without getting air, i suppose that mold could begin to form. try keeping a paper towel around it, and remember to wipe it down and change the paper every so often, if you do not use it much.

                          1. re: vvvindaloo

                            I keep all my cheeses wrapped in wax paper and I never get mold but if I did I would just cut it off and enjoy.

                            1. re: bubbles4me

                              I stopped storing parmigiano, and other large pieces of hard cheese, in wax a long time ago because they always seemed to dry out too quickly. for most cheeses, wax works well if i plan to finish the piece within a couple of days. any longer than that, and i find that my refrigerator develops too much of a cheese smell for my liking.

                        2. This is surprising for me because I've never (or rarely beyond memory) had mouldy parmesan, or pecorino. For pecorino I've always attributed this to anti-fungal additives, for parmesan I've always thought it was superior methods... total BS in all likelyhood.