Properly refrigerating and storing cheese is important to maintaining peak flavor and freshness.
Cheese is best stored in a cheese cellar at 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit and 90% humidity. However, it is perfectly okay (and typical) to use your refrigerator even though the colder air may break down the cheese more quickly. In the refrigerator, keep your cheese in a cheese drawer or warmer area.
Storing Cello and Cello Riserva Cheeses
Loosely wrap wedges of cheese in waxed paper, plastic wrap, foil, or a damp cloth (hard cheeses only) to allow airflow and prevent drying. It is helpful to label the wrapped cheese so you know what type it is and the date you stored it.
Shaves, shred, grates and crumbles of cheese should be stored in an air-tight container and refrigerated. Use promptly for best results and to avoid mold growth.
Some types of cheeses can be frozen. However doing so may slightly alter its flavor. Refer to the directions on the package to see what it recommended.
Asiago – Always store Asiago cheese in your refrigerator. Cheese wrapped in its original packaging can be repacked or wrapped completely with plastic wrap. You can also place Asiago in a container specifically designed to hold vegetables or cheeses.
Cheddar – Once you have opened the original packaging, wrap your Cheddar tightly in plastic or foil and place in an airtight bag. Store in your refrigerator’s cheese compartment or the lowest drawer (the warmest location) and use within two to four weeks or by the expiration date.
Gouda – Unopened Gouda in wax will remain stable in the refrigerator for up to one year. Once opened, wrap leftover Gouda in an airtight plastic bag or foil. Refrigerate and eat within one month.
Grana Padano – Cover wedges of Grana Padano tightly with plastic wrap and store in the cheese or vegetable drawer of your refrigerator.
Havarti – As with most semi-soft cheeses, Havarti will keep for at least two weeks stored in the least cold section of your refrigerator (usually the cheese or vegetable drawer). Once opened, carefully re-wrap with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
Mascarpone – Mascarpone should be promptly refrigerated and enjoyed within one week of opening.
Parmesan – Parmesan may be stored in the refrigerator for up to four weeks. After opening the original package, wrap Parmesan in a layer of wax paper, and then in foil. Re-wrap it in a clean sheet of wax paper after each use.
Parmigiano Reggiano – Cover wedges of Parmigiano Reggiano tightly with plastic wrap and store in your refrigerator’s cheese or vegetable drawer.
Pecorino Romano – Store Pecorino Romano in the cheese or vegetable drawer in your refrigerator, wrapped in either plastic or aluminum foil to keep it from drying out.
Provolone – Wrap the cheese first in parchment paper and then cover tightly with plastic wrap. Store in your refrigerator for up to three weeks.
Romano – After opening, wrap Romano in wax or parchment paper and cover with plastic wrap. Keep cheese refrigerated.
Swiss – The flavor of Swiss cheese intensifies as it ages. Swiss cheese will last tightly wrapped in the refrigerator up to two months as blocks, or up to one month if sliced.
A Note About Mold
Molds are everywhere – in the air, indoors and outside, year round and on all surfaces. Certain cheeses, like Gorgonzola and Bleu, are made using edible molds in the manufacturing process to develop a distinctive flavor, appearance and texture. However, some molds can cause allergic reactions and respiratory problems. In certain cases, molds you see on the surface of foods are also present inside them.
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service provides some very specific instructions for handling moldy foods. For cheeses, the action you take depends on the type and form of the cheese.
- SOFT CHEESES – Cheeses like Mascarpone, cottage cheese or cream cheese for example, should be discarded if mold is observed. Although you may see mold only on the surface, it’s likely that mold and possibly other bacteria are growing beneath the surface.
- CRUMBLED, SHREDDED, SLICED CHEESES (ALL TYPES) – Just like soft cheeses, mold that may be apparent on the surface may be growing beneath the surface, too. It is advisable to discard all cheeses that are crumbled, shredded or sliced if they become moldy.
- HARD CHEESES – Where mold is not introduced as part of the production process, you may still use the product, provided you can cut off at least 1 inch around and below the mold spot. (Be sure to take care that the knife you use does not touch the mold and cross-contaminate another part of the cheese.)
- CHEESES MADE WITH MOLD – Handle cheeses like Gorgonzola and Bleu cheese wedges in the same way as hard cheeses. You may cut off mold at least 1 inch around the moldy spot. However, in the case of Gorgonzola or Bleu cheese crumbles, handle these products as described in soft cheeses or crumbled above.