We all know that cheese is superior among most foods, and is definitely top-tier among dairy products. But like all great things in this world, cheese is not built to last. You may have heard that, due to its highly perishable nature, cheese should typically be enjoyed shortly after opening it. Plus, it definitely should not be consumed if left out at room temperature for a long period of time. What you may not know is that it is actually possible to freeze some of your favorite cheeses— you can even freeze grated cheese! This allows you to extend the shelf-life and enjoy it for a longer period of time.
There are a few key elements you should consider before tossing your cheddar in the freezer and calling it a day. With proper care, and knowing these few simple tips, you can enjoy your favorite food for months after you purchase it.
Which Cheeses Can You Freeze?
First and foremost, it’s important to identify which cheeses are actually freezable. Unfortunately, this isn’t an effective method for preserving all cheeses. Technically speaking, any cheese is able to be frozen, but softer cheeses like cream cheese, mascarpone, and brie will really suffer from freezing after opening. Freezing these cheeses causes a severe lack of flavor, and it should be a crime to have to experience cheese that loses its luster.
Cheeses with holes in them, such as Swiss, should also be kept out of the freezer. These pockets can cause even more of a freezer and thaw cycle, potentially ruining your cheese completely. These particular varieties are best enjoyed fresh and should be consumed shortly after opening them! And if you’re anything like us, consuming an entire roll of goat cheese in one sitting won’t be difficult at all.
How to Properly Freeze Cheese
While you now know some cheeses are off-limits for freezing, all hope is not lost. In fact, there are tons of cheeses that are able to be frozen after opening and stay fresh for weeks, and even months in some cases. You should have excellent luck if you freeze Parmesan, fontal, or any grated cheese, to name a few.
The key to successfully freezing your cheese is to extract as much oxygen from the food as possible. A great way to achieve this is through separating the cheese. For example, if you freeze fontal, try cutting it up into small pieces, and wrap it very tightly in a cling wrap, or toss it into a freezer bag. If it’s frozen in a large block, it can lose moisture and become crumbly. By eliminating an oxygen intake as much as possible, you’ll reduce the chances of the cheese turning.
This is also why freezing grated or shredded cheese is a good option. By separating it into small pieces, it reduces the chances of freezer burn that could result in freezing a whole block. With careful preservation, your cheese can stay fresh for up to six months (although you’ll maintain the most flavor if you thaw and enjoy within the first two months).
Know the Rules for Freezing Cheese
There are a few specific things to keep in mind if you plan to freeze your cheese. Regardless of the cheese you are freezing, most kinds should be consumed 3-6 months after purchase. When freezing your cheese, your best bet is to freeze unopened cheese that’s still in its original packaging, even if it comes in a block. However, with the tips above, it’s definitely possible to freeze already opened cheese. Since cheese tends to lose its flavor over time, using these frozen cheeses to cook with rather than straight-up snacking on them is a better route. Once you pull them out of the freezer and thaw them, make sure to use the cheese within a couple weeks.
Freezing cheese is a great way to reduce the amount of food waste if you end up purchasing too much. But remember, these frozen cheeses are best if used in cooking dishes to complement other flavors. The taste of that cheese alone can start to fade over time. Keep in mind that not all frozen cheeses are created equally, so don’t freeze grated cheese or shredded cheese, or any cheese just because you can. So if you open up a cheese that won’t freeze well, either find a friend or finish off that wheel yourself — we know you can!
Whether you are trying to freeze grated cheese, shredded cheese, slices, or even blocks and wedges, Cello is here to help you do it confidently. We have a full breakdown of the cheese freezing process in part two of this freezy, cheesy series.
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