Cheese is one of humankind’s most favored foods. It’s versatile and delicious, and who cares if it’s a little unhealthy? We love it anyway. Some prefer expensive cheese from the deli counter, some are happy with the processed stuff. The problem with cheese is that it can get moldy before we’ve made our way through it. Whatever your preference, fancy or not, you want it to stay fresh for as long as possible. So, what’s the best way to store cheese in your refrigerator?
Big no-no. You shouldn’t keep your cheese stored in the plastic wrap it often comes in from the store. Sure, it’s easy to just throw it in the fridge as it is, but the plastic wrapping only suffocates the cheese, making it absorb a plastic flavor. Because most cheese is made of predominantly oil and fat, it takes in the flavors of the items closest to it. Plastic wrap is, however, great for freezing leftover meals.
A porous cheese paper is the best thing to wrap it in. The paper will protect the cheese from intruding aromas in the fridge, and it allows the cheese to breathe. The only real manufacturer of cheese paper, or at least the only reliable one, is Formaticum.
Formaticum Cheese Storage Paper
It’s a worthy investment for all cheese lovers. The two-ply wax coated material allows moisture to draw off but not totally escape. It’s truly the best of all worlds.
Cheese bags from Formaticum are also a good means of storage. They’re said to make cheese last about two weeks longer than alternative storage methods. Cheese bags will also be porous, allowing the cheese to breath without overexposing it to the air.
Formaticum Cheese Storage Bags
Can’t have dairy? Make your own non-dairy alternatives with the best nut milk bags for almond, cashew, and other nut milks.
If you’re not willing to go to the lengths of buying cheese bags or cheese paper, wax parchment paper works well. Wrap the cheese in the wax paper and put it in a plastic bag for freshness. The paper makes for a barrier between the cheese and the plastic, preventing it from taking in some of that flavor. The plastic prevents the cheese from drying out. Wrapping the paper in aluminum foil is also sufficient if you don’t have any plastic bags around.
Did you know you can make cheese from kefir? Find out the best strainer to use for making this healthful dairy probiotic! And here’s the best pot for boiling milk.
You shouldn’t wrap cheese too tightly, or too loosely. It does need to breathe, but overexposure can be detrimental. Cheeses wrapped too tight will harden, while cheese wrapped loosely will get moldy and deteriorate. Wrap the cheese, but don’t suffocate it!
Replace the paper wrapping every time you use the cheese. Because cheese sweats, the paper you have it wrapped in will absorb some of that liquid and become less effective. It will become less breathable, so the cheese won’t remain fresh for long.
Don’t struggle with cutting, slicing, or grating cheeses for your cheese tray! See my recommendations on the best tools for hard cheeses.
Keep in mind…
Soft cheeses need a different approach. They’re generally fresher than harder, aged cheeses, so they will deteriorate at a faster rate. Generally, these cheeses should be kept in their original containers. They don’t breathe the same way harder cheeses do, so they won’t absorb those bad flavors.
For example, it has been argued by top pizza chefs that mozzarella cheese will remain fresher longer if kept as one large piece wrapped in plastic, outside of the brine solution it normally comes in. Small chunks will dry up faster, so it’s best to use or eat those as soon as possible.
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Many argue that the brine should be replaced often. This isn’t necessarily true. Brine should be okay to use continually, so long as only clean utensils come into contact with it. If a dirty spoon enters the brine, you’ll need to change the brine with a saltwater brine. Just take one tablespoon of salt and dissolve it in three cups of water.
Store cheese in the vegetable drawer
Lastly, you should keep your cheese in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator. Cheese should be kept at 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Freezing will cause it to degrade, so it needs to be kept as far from the freezer as possible. The vegetable drawer has a consistent temperature that’s not too cold, making it ideal for cheese.
Is your stainless steel fridge dirty or scuffed? Visit this post to learn how to clean the outside of a stainless steel refrigerator.
Be the big cheese on your block with a wheel of the good stuff!
Follow these easy storage tips to maintain its freshness and flavors. Don’t buy too much at one time, unless it’s for a party, otherwise you won’t get through it all and you’ll have loads of spoiled cheeses in your fridge. Nothing smells as bad as spoiled cheese. :(
If you’re a cheese fanatic, be sure to check out my article on the best pizza stone for cooking pizza on the grill! You might also want to read about the best pizza stone for Kamado grills, and the best pizza peel for the Big Green Egg.
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Image Credit via Flickr Creative Commons: Snow Bagel and Raluca.