By Vanessa Greaves

The golden rule for storing cheese is don't smother it.

Photo by Vanessa Greaves

Cheese is alive. ALIVE! And to stay fresh in your fridge so you can enjoy it longer, it needs to breathe. Wrapping it in plastic suffocates that delicious living thing, leading to wet, moldy, wasted cheese. Plus, your cheese can actually start tasting like plastic. Not exactly what you were going for. But you can't just wrap it in plain paper, either, because your cheese will dry out. Ever try to grate a rock-hard piece of Parmesan?

Photo by Vanessa Greaves

The ideal cheese storage method brings everything into balance; the cheese has air flow without dehydrating, and stays humid without getting soggy. To achieve this, you can buy specially coated cheese storage bags, or you can try a simple, low-cost solution that does the same thing as the specialty bags, but uses what you commonly find in your kitchen. Money saved.

You'll Need
Plain cardstock
Plastic wrap
Wax or parchment paper

    1. Write the name of the cheese on a strip of cardstock to make a label.
    2. Put the label face down on a sheet of plastic wrap.
    3. Lay wax or parchment paper on top of the label.
    4. Wrap the cheese in the paper, then loosely with plastic wrap.

Your cheese stays fresher longer, and the label lets you know at a glance what's in the package.


How long can I store cheese?
Properly wrapped and chilled, very hard cheese like Parmesan can stay good for weeks. Hard cheese like Cheddar could last a couple of weeks or more. Softer cheeses like Brie should be eaten within a few days.

Can I freeze cheese?
Yes, although it might be crumbly when it thaws. It won't be at its best on your cheese plate, but you can still use it for making dishes like lasagna or mac & cheese.

Can I eat moldy cheese?
Mold doesn't penetrate far into harder cheeses like Parmesan or Cheddar, so you can cut off the moldy bits for at least an inch around and safely eat the good parts. Shredded, sliced, or crumbled cheese that's developed mold will have to be discarded. Soft cheeses like Brie or blue cheese are made with mold, but if they sprout a new growth, it might be safer to toss out the whole thing.

Did You Know?

Don't throw out your Parmesan rinds. Freeze them instead. You can simmer a rind in recipes like this Tuscan Chard and Cannellini Bean Soup to deepen the flavor. (Just be sure the cheese didn't come with a hard plastic coating in the first place.) Taste before you add extra salt, and remember to remove the rind before dishing up.

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