How To Store Cheese So It Stays Fresh And Delicious

Don't let your favorites go to waste!

Cheese Arranged on Cheese Board

Caitlin Bensel; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Cheese is one of the most versatile ingredients in countless recipes. It’s the star of the show for everything from pizzas and grilled cheese sandwiches to baked pasta, nachos, and charcuterie boards. And chances are, you love to keep your favorite type of cheese on hand, whether it’s Cheddar, pepper Jack, Parmesan, or mozzarella. But what’s the proper way to store it?

Below, find expert tips and tricks on how to store cheese properly so it will stay fresh and delicious.

How To Store Cheese After Opening

The key to storing cheese is to mimic the way you originally purchased it. Jill Allen, Director of Product Excellence for Tillamook County Creamery Association, and an ACS Certified Cheese Professional, says hard cheeses, soft cheeses, and crumbled cheese all require different approaches to storage.

Once it’s open, double-wrap your cheese. First, wrap it completely in parchment paper or wax paper, which Allen says will allow the cheese to breathe. Once it’s wrapped in that first layer, wrap it again in aluminum foil or plastic wrap. This will protect the cheese from yeast, spores, and food aromas in the fridge.

For many cheeses, such as Tillamook Cheddar, the "cheese hat" method is a great trick: “When you cut off a chunk of cheddar, remove the excess plastic film and place that back on the end of the Cheddar loaf with a rubber band,” advises Allen.

The Best Place To Store Cheese in the Fridge

Can you simply throw cheese anywhere in the fridge and close the door? Some places in the fridge are better than others for storage.

Allen says to store cheese in the coldest part of your fridge, ideally between 35 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. “The cheese or crisper drawers work well as the temperature is stable, and light can’t penetrate the cheese,” she says.

Another key tip to storing cheese in the fridge? Keep your fridge clean. “A fridge with other moldy foods can release additional spores into the air, affecting the cheese flavor negatively,” adds Allen.

Can You Freeze Cheese?

While cheese can be frozen, Allen advises against it. “Do not freeze your cheese in chunk form, as cheese is living and freezing will not only stop the aging process, but it will change the flavor and texture of the cheese once thawed,” she says.

However, you can freeze shredded cheese if you’re hoping to store extras for a longer time. If you plan to cook or bake with shredded cheese, it can be frozen. Just be sure to allow the cheese to thaw, and check that it’s not wet once thawed. The change in moisture content can affect the final recipe results.

How To Tell When Cheese Has Gone Bad

Stored cheese will eventually give indicators that it’s starting to turn past its prime. Each type of cheese will lose freshness after different lengths of time. Look for common indicators, such as bad smells or visual spoilage before cutting off a chunk of cheese to eat.

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