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Storing Cheese for Longer Shelf life ?

opinionatedchef Nov 19, 2011 03:22 PM

Of all the things that we keep in the frig, cheese is thrown out more than anything else.(and yes, if the mold doesn't permeate the whole piece, we trim it off and save/eat the cheese).we buy it and think we're going to use it, and we don't. it's so expensive these days........ Do youall have any wrapping/storage techniques for getting it to have a longer shelf life? do you ever freeze it? TYSM

  1. k
    kathryng Jan 21, 2012 08:23 AM

    Wrap hard cheese in wax or parchment paper and then put it in a plastic bag or airtight container, and handle it with very clean hands. The wax paper keeps the cheese from developing condensation on the surface (which makes it soggy and gross and leads to mold), and putting it in a container keeps the cheese from drying out. I'm not entirely sure about the clean hands thing, but I've just noticed it in my experience.

    1. rworange Nov 20, 2011 12:47 PM

      Wel, it depends on the type of the cheese and whether or not you;ve opened it.

      When I get it from the store, I just leave it in the wrapping.

      If I really am not going to use it and it is starting to go south, I will freeze those that can be frozen. You can always use them in a recipe,

      OK, two approches ... is it a dry cheese or a moist soft cheese. For both types ALWAYS check them every few days.

      It is like salad greens. If you get rid of the wilting, rotted leaves, they last longer. If you get rid of mold and dry spots on cheese as soon as they appear, the cheese will last longer.

      Also, for both, keep in the produce drawer which has the most consistant and cheese-friendly environment in the fridge. NEVER keep on the door where temperature fluctuates as it is opened and closed.

      For soft cheese, if you have an unreliable produce bin, keep wrapped cheese in a cardboard box or plastic container with the jar slightly open so it can breathe. For dry cheese find a part of the fridge that has the most consistant and not too cold temperature.

      Keep moldy cheeses like blue separate from others. Have mold, will travel.

      Hard, dry cheese shouldn't be exposed to air or moisture.

      Cheese such as parmiagiano, romano, etc should be wrapped in aluminum foil. Check them and change the foil if mold occurs. The idea is to keep air and moisture out. However, that could keep bacteria and mold in.

      I have a grated dry Jack that the cheesemaker said never to refrigerate. They dried it to the point of getting all the moisture out. Keeping it in the fridge would introduce moisture and make it mold. They said they had customers which stored it in a glass jar in their kitchen cabinet and it lasted years.

      Soft cheese needs two things, humidity and to 'breathe'.

      Cheese that come in brine (feta) or whey (mozzarella) should be kept in that liquid.

      For other soft cheese, wrap in parchment or wax paper and then open plastic bag. If you remove the parts every few days that are going bad, they keep longer. So if the cheese is molding or drying out ... trim those parts ... and if it is starting to look hopeless freeze or use the next suggestion.

      One tip I got and tried once, actually successfully was from "The Cheeselover's Cookbook and Guide". In it they talk about the French Laundry's way of using up bits of leftover cheese by creating a "fromage fort" (strong cheese).

      Trim mold or dry spots off of bits and pieces. Put 8 ounces in a food processor, add 1-2 cloves of garlic and 1-2 tablespoons of dry white wine, cognac or cream. If desired, add black pepper and fresh herbs and process till smooth. Store in a crock covered in plastic wrap and it will last for months. It is nice spread on bits of bread. I ate mine long before a few months.

      One thing I haven't looked into is keeping it in olive oil. There is a goat farm that sells cheese in olive oil. It lasts quite a while.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rworange
        opinionatedchef Nov 20, 2011 02:46 PM

        rw, as my mom would say (tongue firmly in cheek),
        "rw, you are a godda..ed JEWEL !" i really appreciate your taking the time to give me that lesson.
        xeroxed and placed in kitchen spot of honor. TSM.

        1. re: opinionatedchef
          rworange Nov 20, 2011 07:14 PM

          Thanks, but just cheao. I hate throwing stuff out. I think my father's genes finally got to me. I remember him rescuing molding cheese and other stuff and thinking ... eeewww.

          I did a quick search about the olive oil. For some reason that gets me nervous about the possibility of encouraging bacteria growth. You aren't supposed to store garlic in olive oil for that reason. However, it seems it is common practice as mentioned in this site (btw , they advise against aluminum foil)

          http://spanishfood.about.com/od/cheeses/a/storingcheese.htm

          Came across this site for melting and canning cheese which will last for years ... I guess if the world ends ... you got cheese

          http://www.godlikeproductions.com/forum1/message539367/pg1

          A few sites such as this one suggest brushing the outside of cheese with oil. Never tried that, but probably will.

          http://www.wikihow.com/Store-Cheese-S...

          "Rub the surface of all but White, Grey, Bleu, and Washed Rind cheeses with olive, canola or other cooking oil. Rub only the cut faces of the White, Grey and Washed rinds. Bleu will protect itself.

          When mold starts to form, it will consume the oil and not the cheese; simply wipe it off, or rinse in tepid water. Dry, rub with fresh oil and store as above in a clean container with clean towels."

      2. eclecticsynergy Nov 19, 2011 08:30 PM

        I've found that many cheeses hold better if I don't touch them barehanded. Disposable gloves are a handy thing to have around the kitchen.

        If I have cheese that needs to keep for a good while, a helpful trick is to use a covered container with a paper towel in the bottom that's been sprinkled with white vinegar, along with a sugar cube or two. The vinegar inhibits mold, and any that does grow will go for the sugar first.

        2 Replies
        1. re: eclecticsynergy
          opinionatedchef Nov 19, 2011 09:09 PM

          well now, THAT is an interesting technique.the cheese doesn't absorb the vinegar flavor? if not, i will try that. thnx much!

          1. re: opinionatedchef
            eclecticsynergy Nov 20, 2011 08:06 PM

            It's worked for extra sharp Cheddars; these are the only ones I've had a real mold problem with. Hard cheeses seem to be dry enough that mold is less of an immediate problem, and soft cheeses disappear too fast. In fact, most cheese don't last long around here. (I was originally a Wisconsin boy.)

            I appreciate rworange's very thorough information . Will have to try the oil trick on my Cheddars.

        2. todao Nov 19, 2011 07:47 PM

          I'm a big fan of vacuum packing cheese. Key to maintaining it for long periods is to keep air and moisture away from it and refrigeration. Frozen cheese; yuk ....

          http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=food+saver+&x=0&y=0

          http://www.google.com/products/catalo...

          It also helps to make certain that the surfaces with which the cheese comes into contact and the hands that cut/grate it are as clean as possible.

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