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Apr 6, 2012 11:10 PM

Long Term Cheese Storage

Is there a way to store cheese so it will last for a year or two? I've read that red wax will keep it longer, but how long? Can I buy a 1 lb block of cheddar or colby or jack cheese at the store, dip it in red wax, and store it WITHOUT refrigeration, but in a cool place? Does anyone know of a place where I can find answers? Thanks to anyone who can help me! -Mela

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  1. Cheese is one of the ultimate long storage food items, often aged for a year or so by its producers. I have no idea whether it would be a good idea to wax it for home storage, after it had already had producer aging and, presumably, had been sold with the intent of being eaten in the relatively near future, but suggest you contact a specialist cheese seller.

    I'm curious to know why you would want to store for a long time a cheese that seems commonplace and easy to acquire (although I don't know what colby or jack cheeses are, so apologies if these are rare high quality items)

    11 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      Hi, Harters! Thanks for your reply. The reason we store extra food and other items in our home is that one of these days our grocery store shelves are going to be empty or you just can't get to the store. There are several reasons that that can happen: trucking strike because of high gas prices, a pandemic that will prevent us from going out shopping, loss of electrical power for an extended length of time. When we lived in Delaware we had an ice storm that kept us in our total electric home for almost a week. No power, because we had our own well - no water, we lived the county and road were thick with ice. Also, when my husband was layed off from his job we lived on the food we had stored because we had no money coming in. We also help our friends who have financial problems and need help. Although we don't advertise that we store food and necessary items, when we DO tell someone they often think we're kooks. I hope they are right and that we will never need our extra food again. But, the condition that our country is in at this time, anything could happen. I would rather be ready to be self-suficient than wait for the government to help me. I have a lot of info and advice for anyone who would like to learn more about what to store and why. Just send me your email address and I'll send it to you. By the way, I'm afraid asking a specialist cheese seller wouldn't get me the help I need because they just want to SELL cheese, but I will try that. God bless! -Mela

      1. re: melamartin42

        Thanks for the explanation.

        Here in northern Europe we don't get the same extreme weather conditions as experienced in parts of north America, so I think I'd have little need for long-term food storage.

        1. re: Harters

          Hi, Harters! Thanks for the reply. For your sake, I hope you're right that you'll never need food storage.Just try to always be self-suficient and not have to rely on anyone else to come and help you. Luck and blessings to you!

        2. re: melamartin42

          Wow! I live in northern New England, and have NEVER been stuck in my house for a whole week. I can't quite imagine that in Delaware. I've had no power for over a week, but never have the roads been so icy during the day that I couldn't drive somewhere. The Blizzard of 78 might have kept us in for a week - 3+ feet of drifting snow in one day, but even then, public transportation was still running,(where it existed), and the main roads were clear, (by New England standards).

          Having said that - I live in the country and I do have a well stocked pantry. I figure I could live for about three months without help. However, all of that is shelf stable. I wonder why you would go to such an expense to store cheese when you can get protein from beans and any dairy related benefits from milk powder. Or maybe have cheese on hand, but used up frequently, and when the worst happens, find a way to deal with it?

          1. re: hilltowner

            Hi, Hilltowner! I commend you for having 3 months stored!! I hope you never need it, but you've got it in case you ever do. Also, if you store those things that you eat it's easy to rotate the items. Date them when you buy them and use the oldest first. ALWAYS use dented cans first, they don't keep as long. I do have some long-term storage as well. Like #10 size cans of dried beans, wheat, flour, oats, sugar, powdered milk, freeze-dried potatoes that I don't rotate. Their shelf-life is 25-30 years. We like cheese so I'm trying to find a way to store it if we don't have refrigeration. We have ways to cook and bake and we also store water and medical supplies. Our Delaware ice storm was in 1994 or 95. We live in Oklahoma now. The winters are milder but sometimes we do get ice that stays for two or three days out here in the country. We could survive for quite a while if we had to. Keep storing and rotating! Blessings to you! -Mela

            1. re: melamartin42

              I'm thinking, if you were in a survival situation and really wanted cheese, wouldn't American or Velveeta do? They last pretty much forever, and no refrigeration required.

              1. re: coll

                Thanks for your reply. I have kept Velveeta for about 6 months and when opened it was very spoiled. I want to be able to store cheese for a year or two. I have purchased cheese in small cans from either Emergency Essentials or The Ready Store, can't remember which. People who had bought it gave it rave reviews. I haven't opened any yet. I would just like a way to preserve it myself. Thanks, again. -Mela

                1. re: melamartin42

                  Canned cheese is a good option, I used to sell the big cans to hot dog carts. Some are pure cheddar. I know my husband wouldn't live long without some type of cheese.

          2. re: melamartin42

            Wow, very interesting, I live in South America and would love love to know good ways to store foods so that we can buy some from abroad and store them here as most foods are superb expensive and with the constant earthquake, who knows :) how do I send you my email?

            1. re: soyena

              Hi, Soyena! My email is melamartin@wichitaonline.net. Just send an email to that address. -Mela

            2. re: melamartin42

              Hi Mela, I so agree with your post and I'm working towards being more self-sufficient. It's not if major events are going to happen it's a matter of when. I believe the when is sooner than many may realize. Anyway, I can use all the help and advice I can get and I would like to take you up on your offer to share your info and advice about what to store and why. You may contact me at miamigirl1961@cox.net. May GOD bless you!!

          3. Hi Mela -- interesting question. I googled "preparedness storing cheese" and "preparedness wax cheese". Full range of opinions and suggestions but no consensus (admittedly a brief scan).

            Here's some interesting articles/forum links:





            My quick read: hard cheeses only, smaller blocks/servings for a day, proper wax, coolish storage temps (<70 F), 6 months to a year. Change in sharpness/flavor and possible molding. Label properly.

            (I'm a sprouter, dehydrate-r, and fermenter and I'm intrigued with food storage issues also. I may try some cheese waxing and storage come fall -- too hot over TX summer to start now.)

            1 Reply
            1. re: DuchessNukem

              Hi, Duchess! We're neighbors! I live in Oklahoma now and have the same problem with cool storage. With all the tornados we get you'd think there would be more basements!!! I was raised in Kansas and always had a basement. I hope you wer'nt involved in the recent Dallas/Ft. Worth area tornados.They went East of us. We're SW of OKC. I agree with your suggestion of hard cheese only and smaller blocks and labeling/dating. VERY important. I think I'll buy some red wax from a cheese makers supply and just give it a try. I will check out the web sites you sent me and I thank you for taking the time to help. God bless! -Mela

            2. Back to topic here, l have many cheeses l have been aging for 3-4-5, even over 10 years.
              Secret is simple cryopac them, l have my cheese store in Paris or wherever i the states do it for me, but the seal pac machines work fine. The cheese will last a long long time and even get better, assuming you are starting with good product in the first place.

              9 Replies
              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                Your secret to storing hard cheese is "cryopac"? What is that? I'm not familiar with that term? Educate me please: melamartin42@wichitaonline.net -Mela

                1. re: melamartin42

                  The thick plastic bags in which you put a product and all the air is efficiently sucked out. problem vacuum packing is better.

                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                    Clarification: are you saying that any good brand of the vacuum sealers in the market will work? No wax? Just get all the air out? Have you sucessfully done this? I hope you have because I can do that! That would be great!! -Mela

                    1. re: melamartin42

                      I have not used the home ones, but the commercial one are perfect.

                      1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                        I have a home one, but how would I find a commercial one? Have you used a commercial one to store cheese?

                        1. re: melamartin42

                          Yes, and if you are doing 20-30 a day it is worth it.

                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                            Where did you find the commercial sealer? -Mela

                            1. re: melamartin42

                              Was where l worked, but on ebay now quite a few.

                              1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                Thank you! I'll get on eBay and check it out. -Mela

              2. Cougar Gold is made by the Washington State University and is a big favorite in the northwest. It comes in 30oz cans, costs $20, and can "last forever".


                4 Replies
                1. re: Sharuf

                  Thank you for this info, Sharuf! I went to their website and it looks VERY promising. I will check it out more. Thanks, again! -Mela

                  1. re: melamartin42

                    Only gets better when older, have a can from 2003, and 2009 still sitting in fridge.

                    1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                      Your outstanding words are "sitting in fridge". How long would it last if not refrigerated? Thanks so much. -Mela

                  2. re: Sharuf

                    Hi, Sharuf. I investigated Cougar Gold and they say it will last for 30 years... IF refrigerated! If there is no power, there's no refrigeration. They don't say how long it will last if stored at regular room temp. If you find any further info, please let me know. Thanks so much for trying. -Mela

                  3. I know this doesn't address your original query, but don't forget about Red Feather and Bega canned cheeses. I haven't tried them yet (one site says that Bega manufactures both?) but they're shelf-stable and don't need the fridge.

                    Red Feather also makes a canned butter. :)

                    Edited to add: They are processed/spreadable cheeses, unlike the Cougar cheeses.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: DuchessNukem

                      The canned cheese that I have is Bega. I need to open a can and try it. I've seen Red Feather butter and been meaning to get some. Thanks for the reminder! I would prefer hard cheese, but any cheese is better than none. I so appreciate all your suggestions. Thank you, Duchess!