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Help! Stinky cheese is ruining my fridge!

junglekitte Sep 14, 2011 10:54 PM

I recently moved in with a roommate who has extremely potent aged cheeses in the fridge. The entire fridge smells SO BAD I am afraid to put any of my own food in there. :( The cheese is wrapped in ziplock bags. Is there a better way to wrap it so it doesn't smell? Do I need to take everything out of the fridge, clean it out somehow, and put it back wrapped better? There are already 2 boxes of baking soda in there! lol

Advice please?

  1. jen kalb Mar 15, 2013 09:36 AM

    Our refrigerator is generally full of cheese, including blues and washed rind , as well as manchego, gruyere, and hard grating cheeses, and i dont remember a stink., ever.

    we tend to wrap in plastic wrap (sorry), or keep in selleer's paper wrap, either individual pieces or whole plate of cheeses

    maybe roommate's collection is a bit out of control, aging wise??? Are you actually observing your roommate eating this stuff?

    2 Replies
    1. re: jen kalb
      junglekitte Mar 17, 2013 11:37 AM

      This is a really old post of mine and have since solved the issue. My solution was to double wrap them and put them in a fridge in the garage away from other foods. We also got a new fridge for the regular foods because that one was old anyway. :) The cheeses we keep are much stronger than any manchego, gruyere, or other typical hard cheeses. They are extremely aged Danish cheeses like gamle ole, havarti, and esrom flown in from Denmark. They taste nothing like the havarti you can get at any normal market in the US that I've seen! Suuuuuper strong, yet buttery and delicious....but unfortunately you need to wash your hands really well after eating it. haha!

      1. re: junglekitte
        mcf Mar 17, 2013 01:52 PM

        Those are the same cheeses I buy, stinky and washed rind cheeses, and ripe. I still never get stinky fridge from them. I just put them in sealed containers. I can assure you I get them as stinky as you do, and in NY in the U.S.

    2. paulj Mar 8, 2013 12:53 PM

      Put the bagged cheese in a tight sealing container, like a glass Snap n Lock.

      2 Replies
      1. re: paulj
        mcf Mar 8, 2013 01:07 PM

        I don't even bag it; it stays fresh and moist in the tightly locked glass container. Works great, no smells.

        1. re: paulj
          sunshine842 Mar 8, 2013 01:50 PM

          not if it's an artisanal cheese -- if it's artisanal, it needs to breathe.

        2. p
          PIIHA Sep 19, 2011 10:06 AM

          Baking Soda doesn't really do anything for odor. The absolute best thing I found to use is Activated Charcoal. I bought a product called "Fridge-It" and it works great. For a large fridge I used two. I got mine at a camping supply store, but you can also get them online (Amazon). They absolutely removed a bad odor.

          1. Delucacheesemonger Sep 16, 2011 02:02 PM

            Wherever l lived, had my own cheese fridge, not for stinkage but kept warmer than normal fridge so cheese aged properly. Two or three ziplocs mask most of aroma. If none of this works, l will move in with your roommate.

            1. sunshine842 Sep 15, 2011 10:15 AM

              I don't see it listed on the US Tupperware site, but Tupperware in France sells an amazing cheese keeper -- it has a membrane in it that lets the cheese breathe, while keeping the cheese absolutely contained (even bleu and goat cheese behaves with this one)...don't know if the US company would let you order it, but it *rocks*.

              Otherwise, the Tefal one above works well, too -- and I *think* it's available stateside, but not sure where.

              You don't want to put cheese in a sealed plastic bag because cheese is a collection of living organisms (think yogurt) -- and if you seal it, it dies...and begins to decompose.

              7 Replies
              1. re: sunshine842
                mcf Sep 15, 2011 01:54 PM

                Sealing yogurt doesn't kill it, though, nor does sealing wheels of cheeses in wax, right?

                1. re: mcf
                  greenstate Sep 16, 2011 05:41 AM

                  Since I am the only stinky cheese eater in my family, I usually have cheeses for a long time. I wrap them in wax paper and store them in an airtight plastic container, like any one used for food storage. There is no odor at all until I open it to pull out a cheese and that usually clears the room!

                  1. re: mcf
                    sunshine842 Sep 16, 2011 11:01 AM

                    wax allows the passage of air.

                    And yogurt is consumed within a FAR shorter time period than cheese.

                    1. re: sunshine842
                      mcf Sep 17, 2011 10:36 AM

                      That's true of yogurt, but I have yet to find a limit to how long past the sell by date I can keep unopened yogurt in my fridge without it ever going bad. I do it to make sure all the lactose is completely fermented before I eat it. I buy it as old as I can find, and keep it around for months.

                  2. re: sunshine842
                    Melanie Wong Mar 8, 2013 12:38 PM

                    Is this the Tupperware product you have?

                    Otherwise, the US site has a rectangular box for keeping a block of Velveeta. . . not what I need.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong
                      sunshine842 Mar 8, 2013 01:49 PM

                      Yep, that's the one -- and it works absolutely fantastically well.

                      1. re: sunshine842
                        Melanie Wong Mar 8, 2013 02:53 PM

                        Thanks much, found one in the US and it's on the way to me.

                  3. dave_c Sep 15, 2011 09:11 AM

                    Are you using freezer bags?
                    Freezer bags (Ziploc, Glad and others) are thicker and usually have double zippers which are designed to form a tight seal. Regular storage bags are not as good.

                    The above suggestion of using a glass tupperware container sounds good too, plus a freezer bag.

                    1. m
                      MonkeyC Sep 15, 2011 08:52 AM

                      I use a Tefal Cheese Preserver which has an activated carbon filter. This prevents odors and regulates humidity. You can also buy replacement filters. Unfortunately (or fortunately) I had to go to France to buy it. Works great, and let's just say my cheeses are not shy!

                      Putting them in tupperware is okay, give them some room to breathe. Cheese can then be wrapped in wax paper or parchment paper. Wrapping your cheese in plastic makes it wet and slimy. This makes the smell worse and the cheese gets disgusting pretty rapidly.

                      1. p
                        phantomdoc Sep 15, 2011 06:45 AM

                        I think that I remember Americas Test Kitchen checking out the baking soda in the fridge, and it did not help.

                        1. mcf Sep 15, 2011 06:36 AM

                          I've read that plastic is not actually a good thing to keep cheese wrapped in making contact with the cheese, though I can't remember the issue with it. I store cheeses, including smelly ones, in tightly sealed glass food storage containers and don't get stinky fridge odor from them.

                          1. c
                            chileheadmike Sep 15, 2011 06:27 AM

                            The extra dorm fridge sounds like a good idea.

                            Might also be a good time to test out the box of Arm and Hammer theory.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: chileheadmike
                              LindaWhit Sep 15, 2011 09:52 AM

                              junglekitte said at the end of her original post that there are already two boxes of baking soda in the main fridge.

                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                chileheadmike Sep 16, 2011 05:28 AM

                                So it does. I guess that kills the theory then. Now off to get my glasses checked.

                                1. re: chileheadmike
                                  LindaWhit Sep 16, 2011 05:36 AM

                                  Just don't rub your fuzzy eyes with chili fingers. That's gotta hurt.

                                  1. re: chileheadmike
                                    Bob Brooks Sep 19, 2011 05:17 PM

                                    IIRC, Cook's Illustrated debunked the odor killing value of baking soda in the fridge a few years ago.

                              2. LindaWhit Sep 15, 2011 05:50 AM

                                Perhaps suggest to the roommate that s/he get a small dorm-sized fridge for his/her room and put the cheese in there?

                                Otherwise, wrapping the cheese in several layers of butcher paper AND putting in several ziplock bags is the only way I could think of cutting down on the smell.

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