Caring For Cheese
1. Air is what allows undesirable things to grow on your cheese, but some cheeses need a little air to avoid becoming slimy. Compared to many cheeses, Neighborly Farms cheese is very sturdy and easy to care for. It will keep for a very long time in its original package. After opening, wrap tightly with plastic wrap or put in a resealable bag and squeeze out as much of the air as you can.
2. The recommended temperature range for storing cheese is between 35 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit, at a high humidity level, preferably in the bottom vegetable/fruit bin. To avoid accidentally freezing the cheese, don’t store it near the freezer compartment or in the meat bin.
3. Double wrap strong, pungent cheeses, such as blue, aged brick, or washed rind varieties, to avoid having their aromas permeate other foods. It is best to place these cheeses in an airtight container for extra assurance against aroma leakage. And it’s best to store cheeses separately if possible, especially blues, washed rinds and milder cheeses, as they will pick up each other’s flavors.
4. If the cheese develops a blue-green mold on the exterior, make a cut about a half-inch below the mold to ensure that it has been entirely removed. The remaining cheese will be fine.
5. In general, never freeze natural cheeses, as they may lose their texture, and in some cases their flavor profiles will be seriously altered. If you must freeze cheese, allow the cheese to thaw slowly in the refrigerator and use it for cooking, as the texture will become crumbly and dry after it is defrosted.
6. If stored cheeses become overly dry, develop a slimy texture, exhibit ammoniated or any off-odors, it’s best to discard them. If you find these characteristics in cheeses at your local shop, do not purchase them, as they are past their prime. If a retailer’s offerings consistently display the above characteristics, it’s best to find another resource for your cheese.
Cheese expert Wendy M. Levy, “The Cheese Snob,” offers her own cheese storage habits:
- If it arrived in French cheese paper, I leave it in the French cheese paper.
- If it arrived in butcher paper over wax paper, I might throw it into a plastic bag, and fold it over loosely. Don’t seal the bag or wrap it tightly; you want to approximate the effects of the French cheese paper.
- If it arrived in plastic, I wrap it in a layer of wax paper or parchment paper and do the plastic bag thing as stated above. Blue cheese can be wrapped in aluminum foil.
Wax paper is a fine wrapper for cheese, but it lets too much moisture out, so it needs another layer of heavy paper or the plastic bag trick.
Information courtesy of The American Cheese Society,
Wendy M. Levy, and our experience.