How to Keep Cheese Fresh
A nibble with a glass of wine, a slice on a sandwich or a piece for a quick after-school snack, cheese provides calcium and protein in every bite. It’s is almost every food lover’s BFF.
The only time it lets you down is when you look in your refrigerator and find a package of unidentifiable, dried out or moldy cheese. What a waste! You can avoid that disappointment with proper cheese storage.
Although there are about a zillion and one varieties of cheese available, there are only 3 basic cheese storage techniques that you need to remember. They’re based on the type of cheese you need to store.
If your favorite cheese is hard or semi-soft cheese (think aged Parmigiano, Romano, cheddar, Swiss, Colby, Cotija, Edam, feta, fontina, Gouda, provolone, Havarti or Manchego) remove the original plastic wrap. It can give cheese a plastic flavor. Instead rewrap the cheese in cheese paper, parchment or wax paper, making sure the cheese is completely covered. This allows the cheese to breath. Label the package with the cheese type and date of purchase.
Place the rewrapped cheese in a partially open, resealable food storage bag to protect it against other flavors. Keep it in the fridge drawer where temperatures are warmer, and the humidity is higher. If the cheese starts to look dry, add a moistened paper towel to the storage bag. Depending on the moisture content of your cheese, it will keep for a week to several months stored in this manner. If you find some mold, remove and discard the mold along with about 1 inch of the cheese around and behind the mold. Then enjoy the cheese that remains.
Whole soft ripened cheeses (such as Brie or Camembert) keep best in their original wrapping in a refrigerator drawer. If the original wrapping is missing, rewrap it in cheese paper, parchment or wax paper. These whole cheeses keep for several weeks. Pre-cut wedges of Brie or Camembert should be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated. Once cut, they keep for several days. Discard any soft-ripened cheese with mold.
Creamy fresh cheeses (like ricotta, goat cheese, fresh mozzarella or cream cheese) come in plastic tubs, foil wrapping or thick plastic. Keep these cheeses well sealed in their original packaging. Once opened, use plastic wrap to reseal them. Use these cheeses by the freshness date on their original package and throw out any with signs of mold.
Put this cheese to good use and build a fabulous cheese board for entertaining! Read our tips for creating a cheese board here.
Want to know more about cheese, including the legacy of cheese, different types, cheese do’s and don’ts and usage ideas? Read our Cheese booklet.