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Oct 9, 2011 02:22 PM

Cheese, especially blue-veined cheese or others with "stuff" on them

How can you tell when these have gone bad and are no longer safe for consumption?

If I find some leftover "smooth" cheese like cheddar in the refrigerator that has a small portion with mold growing on it, I'll discard that section and use the rest. But sometimes certain cheeses I just bought at the store will even look suspect. I guess I figure it's okay, and I'm still alive so I guess I made the right call.

Where it's tricky is when it's been in the fridge a week or longer and I see "stuff" on it. It's hard to describe, but it could just look like white powder or something. If it's "fuzz" I assume that's bad and I shouldn't eat it. But what about if it's just little white spots or kind of powdery in appearance?

I have some Stilton in the fridge now and it's got so much stuff going on it's really hard to know. But I've only had it about a week.

As a general matter, I do take care and try to serve only the approximate amount I expect to be consumed in one sitting, thereby keeping any excess cheese refrigerated. Still, it's tricky!

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  1. Stilton shouldn't have "so much stuff going on". But to be sure, just give it the sniff test. Any scent of ammonia should, unfortunately, relegate that chees to the trash can.

    How are you storing & using your cheeses that they go bad on you?

    8 Replies
    1. re: Breezychow

      Generally speaking, I keep the cheese in the packaging it came in. I cut off the portion I want to consume then, being careful not to touch the cheese or the portion of the wrapper that would be in contact with the cheese. Then I stick it in the fridge.

      Anything I should be doing differently?

      1. re: uwsgrazer

        You should be wrapping it in new wrap every time you take it out. Plastic wrap is not good for cheese - if you can't find the cheese paper, try wrapping it in waxed paper then putting it in a Tupperware-type container. Touching it won't matter in the "stuff" department unless you have mold spores on your hands.

        1. re: Sushiqueen36

          What about those little mozzarella balls that come in a container filled with seasoned olive oil? I assume it's best to just keep them in the container, right?

        2. re: uwsgrazer

          Sorry for not thinking quickly enough to post in last message but here's some good info on storing cheese:

          1. re: Sushiqueen36

            Thanks, SQ, I had no idea! I'm going to rewrap the cheese in the fridge now with waxed paper. I'll look for cheese paper next time I shop.

            From Neal's Yard Dairy: "A light bloom on a cut surface, however, is a sign that the atmosphere is nice and humid."

            What is "a light bloom"? Is that like a white powder or something?

            1. re: uwsgrazer

              Yep - a "light bloom" would be like a little white powdery mold.

              1. re: Sushiqueen36

                Thanks for all the help, Sushiqueen. (I wrote the bloom question above before I saw your post below about scraping "stuff" off the cheese. Didn't mean to ask the same basic question twice!)

        3. re: Breezychow

          I don't know, I thought the Stilton had "stuff" on it when I first bought it. Anyway, I've eaten it on two occasions now and don't think there were any adverse consequences. I did smell it the second time I used it and didn't notice any off scent to it.

        4. Give the Stilton a scrape with a sharp knife and you should have perfectly acceptable cheese under the layer of "stuff". Breezy's right about the ammonia -though often that ammonia odor will dissipate if the cheese sits at room temp for an hour or so. If it doesn't then it's probably past its prime. Many European cheeses have a slight ammonia odor near the rind when they are in their prime.

          Generally, most molds on cheese can be scraped or cut off to salvage the cheese- especially if the mold is white. If it's a fresh or very soft cheese (fresh chevre etc) toss it if it molds.

          Get your hands on some cheese paper from a good cheese shop - I've seen it at Whole Foods if you have one in your area. That will help keep your cheese at its best.