You’ve purchased your favorite gourmet cheeses, held your cheese-eating party, and now you have leftover cheese. I’d say that you probably bought too much, but at Penn Mac, there’s not really such a thing as “too much” cheese. Anyways, now you need to store it. That’s right – store it. No feeding it to the dogs, no sending it home with guests, and certainly no pitching it in the trash. You’re going to learn how to store cheese the right way, starting . . . NOW!
Wrapping the Cheese
Okay, people. This isn’t something to be handled carelessly. Wrapping cheese is a science, I tell you! The first thing to keep in mind is that cheese should be re-wrapped in a fresh wrapping – NOT the original wrapping. You should try to use wax or parchment paper, rather than plastic, as directly applied tight plastic often does more harm than good. Something that you can do is use plastic as a second wrapping. This helps to preserve the micro-environment that the cheese needs to prosper in storage. Another tip is to double wrap strong-smelling cheeses so that their pungent aromas don’t compromise surrounding foods. For this same reason, it is recommended that you wrap cheeses separately.
Don’t Freeze that Cheese!
Something that you want to avoid is freezing your cheeses. In most cases, this detracts severely from the texture, and in some cases, the flavor is completely altered (or even ruined). If you currently have cheese that is frozen, it’s probably best to let it thaw out slowly, and then use it in a recipe of some sort. Eating it as is won’t be particularly pleasant. In the future, try storing your cheese at anywhere from 35 to 45˚F, preferably in a compartment that’s relatively humid. Remember to avoid parts of the fridge that are within immediate proximity of the freezer to avert accidental freezing.
Cheese DOES Expire!
Don’t be tricked into thinking that cheese lasts forever (at an edible quality). We all wish that were the case, but unfortunately, it’s not. If the cheese develops an exceedingly dry crustiness, starts to get slimy, or starts to smell worse than your husband’s dirty socks, it’s probably time to pitch it. It’s sad, yes; but necessary, nonetheless. Eating expired cheese can give you quite the upset stomach, and – while we do have Brioschi Antacid on hand – we’d prefer that you stay healthy! Fortunately enough, some expired cheese can be saved! If your cheese is past its expiration date, don’t call the ambulance, but don’t just throw it away, either. If the issue is mold, cut down 3/4 of an inch below the mold and inspect the cheese. If there’s no mold, there’s a possibility that you still have good cheese to work with. You have to be careful, obviously, but it’s worth a try!
We hope you enjoyed these basic tips on storing cheese properly! Feel free to let us know of any techniques that you’ve used when wrapping and storing cheese. Which seem to make the cheese last longer?