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Unrefrigerated Cheeses Left Out for a Week or so?

My parents sent me a gift for my birthday and forgot to mention that perhaps I should open it immediately.

I open it today and discover it is a collection of British cheeses Including:

1. Linconshire Cheddar (cut and vacuum sealed) (unpasteurised milk)
2. British Blue Stilton (cut and in a similar bag but doesn't seem to be vacuum sealed)
3. a small semi-soft cheese medallion / round - triple cream white mould (loosely wrapped in plastic) uncut. (unpasteurised milk)
4. a wedge of a semi-hard goats cheese / goats cheddar (cut in a similar vacuum sealed plastic wrap)
5. a chunk of butter

So its been in the box in the living room for about a week. at room temperature here in London. The weather hasn't been too warm here and we haven't had the heat on at all. So i'd say its been sitting at 19-20C for a week. Are the cheeses going to be ok?

- The butter has a few spots of black mould on it - so I think its a lost cause.
- The stilton seems to have been sweating a bit. Should I open it and repack it?
- the semi-soft medallion I think will be OK if we eat it ASAP. its looking very "ripe". So will probably be quite good and not be a problem.
- The linconshire cheddar doesn't seem to have sweated much. Should I open the vacuum pack and put it in paper in the fridge?

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  1. The harder cheese should be ok to eat; use them in cooked recipes.

    The softer/fresher cheeses, I would throw away; same thing for the butter.

    1. Once when I was visiting friends in Paris we went to the supermarche and bought wine and cheese. I automatically went to put the cheese in the fridge when we got back. My friend immediately took the cheese out and said that cheese was a living thing and that by refridgerating it you sort of kill it. Now that's definitely true for soft cheese such as camembert. For hard cheeses I think they should be in the fridge. Don't worry too much about that blue cheese or the soft cheeses but the rest I'd personally chuck out.

      1. NO, NO!!! don't get rid of any of the cheese! It'll be great! Cheddar lasts basically 'forever'. cheese was around long before refrigeration! The semi-soft could probably do with eating now as it'll get unmanageable but will still be delicious.

        (I probably would get rid of the butter as it's a different thing altogether and sounds as if it is now a bit yucky.)

        1. I would certainly eat all of them!
          Depending on the amount of black spots on the butter, I would just cut that off and do a taste test on the rest. If it tastes fine, I would eat it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: RUK

            I agree with RUK here - I know lots of people who never refrigerate their butter. Are you sure the black spots are mold? You may have received a gift of truffle butter or something like that. I would definitely taste test before tossing!

          2. Chuck the butter, eat the cheese.

            1 Reply
            1. re: pikawicca

              +1 on the butter.

              Cheese is a way of preserving milk - from centuries before fridges were invented. It'll be absolutely fine

            2. Ditch the butter, but all of the cheeses are perfectly fine, if a little riper, to enjoy.

              1. I need an answer to this as well, and am extremely nervous of the answer.

                I bought some amazing Dutch cheeses about 20 days ago. A 1-year-old cow cheese, 2-year-old cow cheese, a 10-month-old goat cheese. They were vacuum-packed and I was told they would last at room temperature at least three months.

                However, I'm currently living in Thailand and room temp is about 90 degrees F. I was saving the cheeses for a visit home so my friends can enjoy with me. I did intend to refrigerate due to the heat, but I don't have my own refrigerator and kept forgetting to take it to a friend's place.

                Today for the first time since returning home, I looked at the paper bag containing the vacuum-packed cheese and noticed oil has completely soaked through. I cannot sense any strange smells through the plastic. The vacuum-packing on the goat cheese feels a bit looser than before, and I suspect that's the one that's been leaking (unless it was all three!)

                I'm feeling incredibly stupid about this...it doesn't really feel like 90F inside (especially when comparing to outside), but since my newly-acquired chocolates were also constantly soft, I really should've taken that as a flashing warning sign!

                PLEASE tell me these are not ruined! I will put it in the refrigerator tomorrow, I'm just so nervous because it's truly delicious (Reypenaer) and wasn't cheap.

                3 Replies
                1. re: NancyC

                  Open the one that seems in the worst condition. Do the smell test and check for any excess mould. I reckon it's going to be fine if a little warm for perfection. Eat that one fairly soon, now it's open. Enjoy the others later.

                  1. re: NancyC

                    20 days!? I would throw them away as punishment for not taking care of the cheese. Cause and effect, pay the fiddler, you snooze you loose.

                  2. #3 has to go. All the rest are ok with the microorganisms in the cheeses able to defend their turf against the bad guys.Enjoy!

                    1. The ability of good cheese to stand unrefrigerated really hit home when I was working for a small food chain as the asst. dairy manager. Once a week, an old German guy would come in and buy up all the Limburger cheese. I had never tasted it. I found the smell to be overpowering. I asked him how he ate it. He told me, in his thick accent, that he opens it, puts it on the window sill, and when he has to pick the maggots off of it, it's ready to eat. He actually brought me some of his "cured" Limburger, and i have to admit, it was GOOD!!!!!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: njmarshall55

                        That may well be, but that's not what's going on with the OP's cheeses.

                      2. Note to anyone reading this entry. Cheeses are meant to be aged but butter is different. Depends where and how the butter is made. There are some butters that can't be left out more than a couple of hours. Unsalted vs salted,where the milk came from, if the milk was pasteurized etc. If possible, call the manufacturer.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: PeggySue2u2

                          Really? What do you think people did before they had refrigerators? I was 14 years old when my parents could buy one, truly. Even rancid Butter isn't going to kill you, it just doesn't taste so great and we surely stopped eating a slice of bread if the butter was rancid.
                          You should talk to the Tibetan Monks drinking their tea with Yak Butter, now that stuff is really nasty, because the Butter went rancid. But I didn't die either drinking some.

                          1. re: RUK

                            I am 72 & have always left butter out on the counter. I do keep it in a plastic container, with the top lying on top not sealed. I have never had a problem with it even getting rancid. I hate hard butter.

                        2. I ran into the same issue. I asked my son to finish taking care of the groceries, as I needed to leave for work. I came home to the bags still on my counter with my cheese and eggs still in the bags :( The cheese is Cabot New York Extra Sharp Cheese in a huge block. It was left out approximately 14 hours along with the eggs. Do you think safe to serve with crackers this weekend and make devil eggs?

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: alwaysonedge

                            Here in France l have a screen box outside my window where l keep all my cheese and butters, it never sees a fridge, never.
                            Keep them wrapped to avoid critters of course.
                            All are raw milk as well.
                            Your Cabot is pasteurized.